Iqaluit water service restored after shutdowns Monday, over weekend

City-wide shutdown Saturday due to leaking pipes and broken water valve; partial shutdown Monday caused by waterline causing sewer backup

A broken city water pipe near the Astro Hill complex is the cause of a city-wide water shutdown over the weekend. Another shutdown occurred Monday afternoon in the Lower Iqaluit and Sivumugiaq Street area, and was resolved later in the afternoon. (Photo by David Lochead)

By David Lochead

This article was updated Monday, Feb. 6 at 8:45 p.m.

Iqaluit’s second water emergency in three days has been resolved, according to a news release issued by the city Monday afternoon.

At about 11:45 a.m. Monday, the city advised of an immediate emergency water shutdown for Lower Iqaluit and the area around  Sivumugiaq Street (formerly Federal Road), after a system break caused a sewer backup in the legislative assembly.

That issue was resolved by late afternoon, another news release reported at 4:40 p.m., although Iqaluit briefly remained under a precautionary boil water advisory Monday for all customers of both truck and piped water service.

The boil water advisory was later lifted by the city, at about 7:30 p.m. Monday.

That boil-water advisory was put in place following a city-wide emergency shutdown Saturday afternoon and evening due to a leaking water pipe and broken water valve near the Astro Hill Complex and the boarding home, according to a city release. That shutdown extened into Sunday for the Tammaativvik Boarding Home.

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Overall, the city lost at least six million litres of water in the incidents, said city communications manager Kent Driscoll. That amount is enough to fill three to four Olympic swimming pools.

The decision to temporarily shut down water service across the city is only made in emergency situations, Driscoll said.

“This is not something the city takes lightly, we understand it’s a major inconvenience to all of the customers and we only do this when we absolutely have to,” he said.

“This weekend, we absolutely had to.”

Monday’s temporary shutdown followed a city-wide emergency water shutdown Saturday afternoon and evening. The Tammaativvik Boarding Home remained on a water shutdown until Sunday.

Both weekend shutdowns were caused by a leaking water pipe and broken water valve near the Astro Hill Complex and Tammaativvik, Driscoll said.

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The city initially received a call about a possible water pipe leak at approximately 3 a.m. Saturday. As a result of the leak, Tammaativvik was not receiving any water while Astro Hill’s eight-storey complex was receiving little water.

City workers responded approximately 45 minutes later. To fix the pipe, a water valve had to be shut off. However, it was so cold outside that the valve broke, Driscoll said.

Weather in Iqaluit reached below -40 C with windchill over the weekend.

The city was able to fix the problem enough to have water running by Saturday evening.

City of Iqaluit communications manager Kent Driscoll said some workers were out fixing the water system for 24 hours. (Photo by David Lochead)

But on Sunday there were another two leaks in the city’s water system, which is why Iqalummiut have been asked to conserve water, Driscoll said.

Some of the response staff were on site fixing the water system for 24 hours, Driscoll said. He said residents were kind enough to come by with fresh coffee.

The problem of pipes leaking is the result of not having proper water infrastructure in the city, Driscoll said, adding events like these are the reason Iqaluit is receiving $200 million in federal money to upgrade its water infrastructure.

Driscoll said the city cannot predict when another water problem like this will happen again.

“But I think if you look at the history of the water system, it’s bound to happen again,” Driscoll said.

“And that’s something [the city] is fully prepared to deal with.”

The ultimate fix is to get the new water infrastructure in place and that begins in the summer, Driscoll said.

Note: This article was updated to include the lifting of the boil water advisory by the City of Iqaluit on Monday night.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Cliff on

    Does anyone know when Northview or the city will get around to providing water to units that are still without. Building 2696 is a 14 unit apartment that is still without water. 63 hours after it was shut down.

  2. Posted by Not impressed on

    Same goes for building 622, entire building no water since Saturday, no communication as to what is ongoing, no access to water provisions, whats happening Northview?????

    • Posted by Not northview on

      Can’t blame northview when the incompetence lies with the city. Shutting off water in the middle of a deep freeze? What the hell did these imbeciles think would happen? This city is trash and run by trash, we need the feds to come up here and take over the running of the city.

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