Iqaluit’s water treatment plant cleared to come back online
Plant has been offline since fuel was discovered in city’s water supply 18 months ago
The City of Iqaluit’s water treatment plant has approval to return to service.
The municipality needed the go-ahead from Dr. Sean Wachtel, the territory’s chief public health officer, said city spokesperson Kent Driscoll in an email.
This comes after more than a year spent cleaning fuel contamination from the plant.
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.
Wachtel’s approval to return the plant to service came March 30, said Driscoll. The city had to show the GN its plan for transitioning its water treatment process back to the plant from a bypass system that was installed in November 2021.
The plan includes demonstrating clean water test results and disinfecting tanks.
The city plans to return the plant to service April 25.
The process could cause water interruptions and a boil water advisory that could last a week, said Driscoll in the public service announcement.
“Due to the amount of tests that will be conducted this precautionary boil water order will last longer than usual,” it reads.
The city will be testing for bacteria, chlorine levels and hydrocarbons at the water treatment plant and elsewhere.
The Nunavut Health Department did not immediately respond to Nunatsiaq News’s request for comment.