Oil spill near Clyde River water source went unreported for months

Water is safe to drink says senior administrative officer; Health Department spokesperson

Clyde River’s health centre is closed for maintenance. There is no date specified for when it is expected to reopen. (File photo)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

An oil spill in Clyde River that went unreported for nine months has contaminated the hamlet’s raw water source.

Jerry Natanine, the community’s senior administrative officer, told Nunatsiaq News he was told about the spill when it happened, but only found out about the water contamination three weeks ago.

He said hamlet workers finished cleaning the spill on Aug. 5 by shovelling the contaminated gravel and using an absorbent material to soak up the oil from Water Lake, where residents get their potable water.

The spill — which he estimated to be less than 20 litres — happened after a pipe carrying hydraulic oil burst in a water truck. It occurred about six metres from the lake.

“All of it ended up on the gravel, but it seeped down to the lake,” Natanine said.

The contamination wasn’t cleaned up immediately because the hamlet was facing other problems at the time, such as high levels of snow and blizzards.

“They just couldn’t get to it,” he said.

Clyde River had an especially harsh winter, with blizzards starting in November and persisting into February. The hamlet declared a local state of emergency early this year because its snow-removal equipment broke down.

Health Department spokesperson Chris Puglia said the hamlet did not report the spill to the territory’s Health or Environment Department and no residents complained about the water quality.

“Neither department became aware of the incident until inquiries were made following the request for information from Nunatsiaq News,” Puglia said.

He said an environmental health officer will travel to Clyde River to investigate.

In the meantime, Natanine says the water is safe to drink.

The hamlet sends out weekly samples of water from different buildings that came back safe for consumption every week, which, he said, includes testing for oil.

Puglia agrees the risk to human health is low, because the spill is small and there haven’t been any reports of the water tasting or smelling bad.

Share This Story

(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Neat on

    Cool fear mongering

  2. Posted by Hear Me Out on

    Starting to think that a stint as Mayor in which the only result was shilling for environmental groups may not qualify a persons to be a successful SAO.

  3. Posted by George on

    What a joke. The so called environmental champion that supposedly fought so hard against seismic testing can’t report an oil spill??? The image of “fighting the man” and grandstanding is all this guy is interested in.

  4. Posted by Politician on

    This is what happens when a politician turns administrator.

  5. Posted by Truestory on

    Needs a complete council overhaul.


Comments are closed.