Military on its way to Iqaluit for water emergency

The Government of Nunavut requested military assistance for the city’s water crisis

An Iqaluit resident fills a water jug at a city filling station. The Canadian military announced Friday it will deployed to assist with Iqaluit’s water emergency. (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed in Iqaluit to help provide residents with clean drinking water.

Early reports indicate the military will be setting up a temporary water treatment plant to help the Nunavut capital, where 8,000 residents were told 10 days ago to stop drinking tap water from the municipal water system.

“It’s a little too early to say what they’re going to do,” Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell said during a press conference Friday afternoon.

But Bell said he talked earlier in the day with a military officer, who said the Canadian Forces had begun an assessment of where the military could set up a water treatment plant. Between three and five military personnel flew in Friday to “hit the ground running,” the mayor said.

News the military will be deployed in Iqaluit came Friday afternoon in tweets by federal emergency preparedness minister Bill Blair, and then Canadian Armed Forces.

“We are currently working with federal and territorial partners to finalize the details on our support to the people of Iqaluit,” Captain Bonnie Wilken said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

The Government of Nunavut called a state of emergency last week after a contamination of petroleum hydrocarbons in the city’s water system. City residents began reporting an odour in the city’s water on Oct. 2.

On Oct. 5, the mayor told residents not to drink the tap water, resulting in a run on bottled water, emergency shipments of water shipped by plane from the south and people drawing water from the Sylvia Grinnell River.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by wow on

    Can we speculate from this non-announcement that the water problem WILL NOT be fixed with the “flushing” as promised by City officials? Time to book a plane ticket, I’m working from Ottawa and the GN will have to get over it since you can’t live here like this.

  2. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    Exactly my suggestion 10 days ago.

    I knew they had the capability after a six-month stint in Eqypt many moons ago.
    If they can purify the water from the “Sweetwater Canal”, they can purify it anywhere.

    Happy someone followed up

    You folks will be a lot safer pretty soon.

  3. Posted by Water guy on

    That’s great news. These soldiers will get it done.

    The water plant is not the main problem now, it’s the water mains and services to the homes. This will take a month or so to flush as hydrocarbons attached to the pipes.

    You will more than likely still have to go get the drinking water from the temporary plant on-site, but will be able to use the water from the tap for bathing, laundry and washing dishes. But drinking will be awhile before the smell gets out of the Utilidor.

    Just concerned of how much water will be needed to completely and satisfactorily flush the pipes and what effect will it have on the reservoir.

  4. Posted by Nunavut on

    Why is the mayor talking? He has no idea what is going on, no idea how fuel is in the water tanks, hiring firms to find tiny cracks in the under water tanks (nothing tho), and he thinks fuel is seeping in from the ground?! Big exposure to QEC, you are responsible for leaking into the soil and not cleaning it up!
    No worries tho, the Canadian Forces will take control, they will make it better for the city, while the mayor and staff try and answer questions on facebook, lol, and complain a twitter

    • Posted by Doubtful on

      If it was QEC this is huge, because of the amount of soil between the two buildings that would have to be contaminated. Plus on the map it seems like the power plan sits at lower than the water plant. So can you get hydrocarbons to flow uphill?

      Kinda feels like either soil was contaminated when it was built or its not the soil.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Well water flows from a tree’s roots to it’s branches so I would guess that Mother Nature has figured out a way to move water against the force of gravity.

      • Posted by Weak leadership on

        Why isn’t QEC coming forward to clear their reputation?

        • Posted by Doubtful on

          Engineers like lawyers and accountants have to be careful in what they say. So they can’t defend their reputation without evidence and knowledge that what they say is correct. So they are most likely testing, and will respond later.

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