Iqaluit water treatment plant is back online

Precautionary boil water order in effect due to continued testing, could last up to a week city says

Iqaluit’s water treatment plant went back online Tuesday. (File photo by David Venn)

By Nunatsiaq News

Iqaluit’s water treatment plant has returned to service after being offline for the past 18 months.

The plant came back online Tuesday morning, and all City of Iqaluit water customers — whether their water is trucked in or piped in — remain under a precautionary boil water order.

In a news release, the city advised that due to the high volume of testing being conducted, the boil water order could remain in place for as long as a week.

It said no changes to the quality of the water are expected during the first two days of the changeover as the current supply is gradually replaced by treated water from the plant.

After that, people can expect a steady improvement in the taste and clarity of the water coming from their taps as the filtration system takes over.

The city advised there could be some brief periods when a chlorine taste might be more noticeable than usual, but that’s to be expected as chlorine levels are adjusted to stay in line with the water treatment process.

Issues with Iqaluit’s water treatment system first arose in fall 2021.

Fuel was found in Iqaluit’s treated water supply from two separate sources in October 2021 and January 2022.

The first contamination was caused by a leaky 60-year-old fuel drum buried nearby the plant.

The second occurred on Dec. 16, 2021 — six days after the city’s water had been deemed safe to drink again. It was found to come from black tar that had become exposed inside one of the water tanks.

On March 30, Nunavut’s chief public health officer Dr. Sean Wachtel gave the go-ahead to return the plant to service, after the City of Iqaluit showed the Government of Nunavut its plan to safely bring the water treatment plant back online and transition away from the bypass system installed in November 2021.

The plan included demonstrating clean water test results and plans for disinfecting tanks.

During a boil-water advisory, the city recommends all water for uses such as drinking, preparing infant formulas, juices and ice cubes, cooking, brushing teeth, and washing fruits and vegetables be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute.

Also this week, the city asked residents to continue to conserve water until the snow melts and replenishes Iqaluit’s reservoir.

 

 

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