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 Government of Nunavut lifted its do-not-drink order for Iqaluit tap water on Friday afternoon. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

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.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by Confused on

    This makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever. You may still smell fuel in the water but its ok to drink!!! If you smell fuel take the water to another room and re-test??? Take the aerator out and clean it. This is a micro-screen the size of a dime and about 1/2 a mm thick. How is this possibly going to help. This is what you get when unqualified people are running the show. Amy and Kenny time to admit you guys have no idea what you are doing and step out of the show before someone is seriously harmed.

    • Posted by The Federal Government Says on

      Yes. You can smell fuel in the water and it can be safe to drink.

      Copy/paste from the Government of Canada’s website:
      Health Canada’s screening values identify limits for contaminants in water that could be used as a source of drinking water. A *lifetime of exposure* to these contaminants up to the screening value, both by drinking the water or by using it for showering or bathing, is not expected to increase health risks for *any Canadian, including children*.

      The human smell detection for fuel is 1-3 parts per billion. If you get the odd whiff of this, you’re probably in that range.

      The drinking water screening value for fuel is 290 parts per billion.

      Therefore, water would have to be 100 times more concentrated than the human detection limit AND you would have to drink this super concentrated water over your entire lifetime to experience even the slightest effects, regardless of whether you’re an adult or a child (according to the Government of Canada).

      According to the results posted by the City and the GN, there has been no concentration above the drinking water screening value in the distribution system.

      This is not the Bell or Patterson saying the water is safe. This is the federal government telling you the water is safe based on studies and research.

  2. Posted by Uvanga on

    Time to hire Dr. Huang back!

    • Posted by Water Water on

      Never going to happen.
      This is Nunavut, after all.

      On a seperate note, Still no plan for all the plastic bottles, both full and empty.

  3. Posted by Why u dum on

    Pictures of the Dr and Kenny having a glass of water please.

  4. Posted by Concerned on

    Anyone else still concerned? I trusted these guys before and they were way wrong. I’m scared to trust again. I though the gn had a lot of requirements. We’re they met? I have serious trust issues with the city now. Is the do not life a political move or the honest right move? I don’t think I can trust this mayor and council again.

    • Posted by Water’s fine on

      I’m frustrated with the Mayor as much as the next guy, but the water’s fine. Don’t make your own life harder on yourself due to suspicions.

    • Posted by Waters ok on

      The GN has a big list of requirements to lift the Do Not Consume.
      They lifted the Do Not Consume ergo one would believe that the City met those requirements.

  5. Posted by Why??? on

    On October 10 the mayor issued several statements on Facebook saying there was no fuel in the water. Why has this not been included in the city response timeline and why has this still not been addressed?? People are posting screenshots everywhere. Will this be included in the third party investigation? A lot of people trusted these posts.

  6. Posted by Ms on

    We know that southerners buy bottled water, bring up their own water and have been doing so for years through sealift. Therefore, getting this water situation in order is on another “burner” so to speak. Boil water has been in effect in most of the communities due to smell, brown water, unpleasant odour, and discolouration etc.

    This is very sad to admit as the long term affects of drinking the water and putting this water on our skin might not be known for years later. Water fountains in some schools have been covered over for years and this was before Covid-19. It is time more attention is paid to this very essential service and necessity of life.

    • Posted by Nope on

      The southerners I know are smart enough to drink tap water because it’s cheaper and safe. You’re hanging out with fussy people.

      There’s almost a century worth of scientific data that proves that a very small amount of chlorine and fluoride is safe and beneficial.

      Do you know what can cause skin irritations? Stress. Even stress caused by fictitious problems.

    • Posted by Canepan on

      I lived here most of my adult life and I’ve never known of any southerners who Sealift or fly in water. I’m not saying it doesn’t ever happen, but it is definitely not the norm.

    • Posted by John K on

      There it is! Like clock work.

  7. Posted by S on

    According to all of the technical information that has been made public and which was available to those making drinking-water decisions, the water in Iqaluit has been potable since the middle of October. More Nunavut theatre for the past eight weeks or realistic caution? History says,,,,,? Survey says?

  8. Posted by Chester on

    “these past weeks”? Try two months, pal.

  9. Posted by Yup on

    alright everyone, get your tin foil hats out, its conspiracy time. *Everyone signs the conspiracy song*

  10. Posted by River Rat on

    The water might taste awful but that’s just due to changes in filtration. It’s fine to drink as the City of Iqaluit has met the criteria laid out by the Government of Nunavut. What isn’t fine is how we ended up in this situation and the fact remains is that we are not being given all the facts! Time for a public inquiry. The people of Iqaluit and Nunavut deserve to know the truth.

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