Nunavut government issues new boil water advisory for Whale Cove
Kivalliq community faces contaminated water source for sixth year running
Nunavut health officials have issued a boil water advisory for residents of Whale Cove.
The Department of Health issued the advisory on July 24 as a precautionary measure “due to unsatisfactory bacterial sample results.”
That means that residents should boil any water they plan to consume, including water being used for cooking; to prepare infant formula, juice or ice cubes, or for brushing teeth.
The Kivalliq community of about 450 has had an ongoing issue with the presence of coliform bacteria in its freshwater source through the summer months for several years now, though hamlet officials have yet to understand the cause.
Coliform is a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in plants, soil and in the digestive tracts of humans and animals, although humans are at risk of becoming ill from water-borne coliform.
In response, health officials have issued boil water advisories for residents over the past five summers, typically lasting from June through September.
In 2018, however, the advisory extended into the winter months, prompting the community’s MLA to call on the Government of Nunavut to act.
The GN did invest in a $500,000 temporary water filtration system for the community in 2018, but soon after it was installed, the system stopped working properly, so the hamlet stopped using it.
In 2019, the Department of Community and Government Services said it was working to find the source of the contamination and to create a permanent solution, though it has yet to announce any new efforts.