Water Treatment Plant update

January 06, 2022

Water Treatment Plant update

The City’s Water Treatment Plant continues to produce high-quality drinking water. The drinking water distributed through the city’s distribution system is in compliance with Territorial Standards and the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.

As a result of this water quality emergency, the City has taken on a series of actions to enhance and expand monitoring of both water treatment plant operations, and the quality of the drinking water produced. The City has developed contingency measures to be prepared in the event of a future contamination event and is currently planning for the permanent remediation and repair of the concrete tanks that were impacted during this water quality emergency.

To date, the City has completed the criteria provided by the Government of Nunavut, including:

• The installation of a water management pump system in the void.

• The installation of two water quality monitoring stations that monitor water quality parameters, most notably hydrocarbons, in real-time, 24 hours per day. The first station was installed to monitor the raw water incoming from Lake Geraldine, the City’s drinking water source, and the second is monitoring the treated water as it leaves the plant and flows to the distribution system.

• The monitoring stations have been integrated into the City’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA).

• The implementation of additional Standard Operating Procedures to respond to water quality complaints and to provide guidance for staff in the event of a contamination event.

Furthermore, the City is nearing completion of work to implement contingency measures in the event of a future contamination event at the Water Treatment Plant. Principally the installation of a multi-tank bypass system that can be used to redirect water around the tanks while still maintaining disinfection standards.

On December 16th, while work was underway at the Water Treatment Plant, the treated water quality monitoring station detected measurable levels of hydrocarbons traced back to one of the treated water tanks, upstream from the reservoirs. The City staff and on-site engineers responded quickly, following the pre-established response plan. The response plan involved a brief shutdown of the plant and an inspection, to quickly identify the issue. The risk was rapidly mitigated with localized flushing and monitoring. As a result of the rapid response, no detectable levels of hydrocarbons were measured in the distribution system.

It was determined that the incident resulted from maintenance work within the plant. The work undertaken caused the water level in a previously unaffected tank to rise to an unprecedented high level, well above the normal water level kept in this tank. This subsequently revealed a breach in an upper section of the previously unaffected tank. As a result, water from the plant’s process wastewater tank made contact with this compromised section for a short brief time while the maintenance work was being conducted at the plant. The City’s response to this incident was the deployment of a single tank bypass to be immediately completed as part of the response, redirecting water away from that tank and allowing for additional inspection.

The affected tank remains out of service until such time that permanent remediation and commissioning of the affected tank is complete.

At this time, an environmental firm is scheduled in January to complete additional remediation work and prepare for additional inspection and assessment by concrete reservoir specialists. This assessment will provide recommendations as to the permanent remediation work to be undertaken to the affected tanks at the Water Treatment Plant.

Going forward, water quality monitoring results, for the City’s water distribution system, will be made available to residents online at www.iqaluit.ca in the “Water Facts” section.

As part of the City’s ongoing water quality monitoring efforts, the Water Quality Hotline will remain active for a period of one year from the lifting of the Do Not Consume Order. If anyone notices odours in the water, they should call 979-5603 to report the issue.

For additional information, please contact:
Aleksey Cameron 
Communications and Customer Service Manager City of Iqaluit 
867-979-5607 | a.cameron@iqaluit.ca