Nunavut government issues new boil water advisory for Whale Cove

Kivalliq community faces contaminated water source for sixth year running

A temporary water filtration system installed in Whale Cove in 2018 was designed to filter out the coliform bacteria that’s been detected in the community’s freshwater over the last few summers, though the system malfunctioned later the same year. (Photo courtesy of the GN)

By Sarah Rogers

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.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by No Reason To Be on

    Just think of all the money dropped into Whale Cove. The GN should offer to move residents to Rankin and consolidate both communities.

    • Posted by Um… on

      You mean like another government forced relocation? Yeah, good idea. How about just come up with a real solution to the problem. It isn’t like they haven’t had years to work on it and fix it.

      • Posted by In Reality on

        That is a real solution. In fact it’s the only solution.

      • Posted by Go on, your turn on

        Consolidating smaller communities into larger ones near to them is a solution to the economic burden and inefficiency the duplication of services puts on the GN budget and on its human resources.
        No one said anything about ‘forced relocation,’ people don’t have to move, but the government will cease to provide services in those places.
        I’m curious, what’s your “real solution to the problem”?

      • Posted by Kivalliq Roads on

        First of all, Whale Cove residents deserve clean drinking water. There shouldn’t be any communities in Canada that have to deal with this, it’s absurd that nothing has been done.
        Now, bigger picture idea on Whale Cove: The solution I’ve been saying for years is not to consolidate the communities, but to build a road between Rankin and Whale Cove. Would probably be just a little over 100km, significantly less than the proposed 227km Gray’s Bay Road to Nowhere. The Gray’s Bay project is estimated to cost $550M, which includes the road and a port, to be built in a place where there is no existing infrastructure.
        Building a road only and starting from Rankin, where there is already some infrastructure in place (airport, workers, housing, sealift, etc) must come in at probably no more than a quarter of the cost of Gray’s Bay. Then commercial flights, cargo, and sealift could be consolidated, with Whale Cove’s residents and supplies being relayed from Rankin by road which is much more economical. It would be interesting to see how much could be saved using a road instead of a plane for passengers, food, supplies, and whatever else.
        It would also likely open up more opportunity for Whale Cove residents to be employed with Agnico Eagle at the mine. It could potentially bring some tourist activity to Whale Cove, for those few that do visit Rankin Inlet could more feasibly visit Whale Cove as well. I’m sure there would be other benefits to both communities.
        Next on the list: Rankin Inlet to Chesterfield – another 100-ish kilometre road.

        • Posted by Sam on

          Right on best idea I have heard in years please run for mla or mayor and try to make this happen, and to think about it people may move to whale cove to enjoy the beautiful community and peaceful place

    • Posted by Just wow! on

      Still amazes me that in this day and age there are still people who think like this, it’s like stepping back in time, no clue about the past or never learned from the past.

      I’m glad this time of person is not in a position of power, hopefully anyway.

      No reasoning with this type of person. Just ignore and move on.

      • Posted by Close it down on

        It will frighten you to know that there are many people in positions of power who think exactly like this, and for good reason. One day they may even get their way.

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