Iqaluit’s water safe to drink, says Nunavut government
‘I want to thank Iqalummiut for their patience, I know these past weeks have been challenging,’ says Dr. Patterson
The Nunavut government has lifted its do-not-drink advisory for Iqaluit’s drinking water.
“Thorough testing and assessments conducted over the past eight weeks, show that the water is safe for consumption and that the risk of recontamination is low,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, in a statement released Friday afternoon.
“I want to thank Iqalummiut for their patience, I know these past weeks have been challenging.”
It’s been eight weeks since the government introduced the do-not-drink advisory on Oct. 12, following confirmation that the city’s water supply had been contaminated with fuel.
Patterson said that his office wanted to see a minimum of three consecutive test results without evidence of significant fuel contamination in the water treatment plant before lifting the do-not-drink order.
All tests done after Oct. 19 show that hydrocarbon levels are either undetectable or within safe levels for drinking, he said.
Since the discovery of fuel contamination in Iqaluit’s water supply, new monitors were installed, the site was remediated, water tanks were scrubbed and new procedures were implemented to help prevent future incidents, he said.
The City of Iqaluit cautions residents that their tap water may still occasionally smell like fuel. “Residents may still notice occasional odours in their tap water as a result of trapped vapors in the system,” the city said in a news release. “These will dissipate over time.”
The City of Iqaluit announced Friday afternoon it had suspended its distribution of bottled water and the operation of its water refilling depots.
The city says its water quality hotline remains open until further notice. It asks that residents take the following steps before calling:
1. If the concern is with odours, take the water into another room of your house and re-test for
2. Remove the aerator from the faucet.
3. Run the water from the tap for 10 minutes, with the aerator removed.
4. Clean the removed aerator, rinsing it in a solution of chlorine bleach, if available.
5. Take another sample of water and test for odours,
6. Reinstall aerator.
The water quality hotline is 867-979-5603.