Nunavut community slated to receive new water treatment plant

Whale Cove’s new plant now scheduled to be in place by 2023

Whale Cove’s temporary filtration system, including the white seacans pictured here, operates alongside the community’s freshwater lake, designed to filter out coliform bacteria. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Whale Cove’s boil water advisory was short-lived this year, but officials in the Kivalliq hamlet hope to see a permanent solution to its seasonal water contamination issues.

The Kivalliq community of about 400 has had an ongoing issue with the presence of coliform bacteria in its freshwater source through the summer months for several years now.

In response, health officials have issued boil water advisories for residents over the summer months.

“The nature of boil water advisories in that community is due to run off, or seasonal rains,” said Kyle Seeley, acting assistant deputy minister of Community and Government Services. “It’s been an issue.”

That prompted the GN to purchase a temporary, $500,000 water filtration unit in 2018, which includes a new ultraviolet light filtration system with holding tanks, located at the freshwater source, a lake about three kilometres outside the community.

That unit went into operation later than usual this year—it wasn’t activated until Aug. 16, due to COVID-19-related delays getting a contractor into the community to operate the plant, Seeley said. The plant will stay in operation until freeze-up.

Whale Cove is among the Nunavut communities that has applied for a new, permanent water treatment plant, Seeley added. The department estimates the plant in Whale Cove will cost between $7 and $million.

The Government of Nunavut has approved roughly $75 million towards the planning and construction of water treatment systems in Whale Cove, Pond Inlet, Kimmirut, Arctic Bay, Sanikiluaq, Grise Fiord and Rankin Inlet, CGS told Nunatsiaq News in a Sept. 14 email.

Initially, that new plant was set to be in place by 2021, but Seeley said Whale Cove’s new unit is now expected to be in place by 2023.

Jeani Mackenzie, Whale Cove’s senior administrative officer, said the hamlet has had tentative discussions with CGS about a new water treatment plant.

In the meantime, she said community members only had to deal with a short boil water advisory this summer, from late July through late August.

MacKenzie said community members have grown accustomed to the advisories and are well prepared for them; many residents also stock up on store-bought water for drinking.

Igloolik and Pond Inlet have both has boil water advisories in place this summer as a result of coliform bacteria in their local water sources, while Baker Lake had an advisory in place due to high turbidity.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by qilarutik on

    “MacKenzie said community members have grown accustomed to the advisories and are well prepared for them; … ”

    A story within a story, right there…

  2. Posted by 9 Years on

    Good to know that they plan on having a system in place for clean drinking water in 2023, after only a brief 9 years of boil water advisories. Agree with Poster 1, having to say residents have “grown accustomed to the advisories” is disgraceful.

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