Water Quality Emergency – Investigation Update

October 24, 2021

News Release

Water Quality Emergency – Investigation Update
October 22, 2021 – Iqaluit, Nunavut


The City of Iqaluit continues to make progress on its investigation into the drinking water quality issue.  The Do Not Consume order remains in effect until further notice.

The quality and quantity of Iqaluit’s water supply is of the utmost importance to the City.  The City of Iqaluit is doing everything in its power to ensure that residents have safe and reliable drinking water. 

Recent test results show that water in the City’s distribution system were below levels concerning for health.  While the City is conducting work to remove remaining hydrocarbons from the water treatment system, specifically in the treated reservoir storage tanks. The contamination is presenting as hydrophobic and tends to remain on the surface which means it can be removed directly from those tanks using a vacuum system, preventing the contamination from entering the City’s distribution system. 

The City has completed the first round of flushing the City’s water pipes, there will be additional flushing once the work at the treated reservoir is complete to remove hydrocarbons from the system.

The City’s water engineering consultants are in Iqaluit and additional expertise will be brought in as required.

The in-ground tank containing the high concentrations of contaminants in the Water Treatment Plant has been isolated, pumped out for remediation and has undergone cleaning.  The affected tank has been successfully bypassed and water continues to be treated and sent out to the City’s distribution system. 

The investigation to date has pointed to potential hydrocarbon contamination in the soil and/or ground water outside the water treatment plant which may have leached into the affected tank. 

An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Phase II, subsurface investigation has begun.  Contractors are expecting drilling to start early next week to take soil and ground water samples from outside the Water Treatment Plant.  Next steps are dependant on test results. We will take direction from our experts on actions required to remediate the site.

The City is undertaking a rigorous sampling program and is testing for hydrocarbons throughout the water treatment processes and within the distribution system. 

In addition, the City is implementing an online, real time water monitoring station focusing detecting and trending hydrocarbons.  The water monitoring station was installed today.  This will allow the city to obtain real-time information on hydrocarbon levels.


For additional information during business hours, please contact:
Geoffrey Byrne

A/Communications and Customer Service Manager

867-979-5619 | g.byrne@iqaluit.ca