Iqaluit’s water is safe to drink, says Nunavut government

After nearly two months of a do-not-drink order, public water supplies in Nunavut's capital are again safe to drink, said public health authorities.

By Nunatsiaq News - December 10, 2021
The Government of Nunavut lifted its do-not-drink order for Iqaluit tap water on Friday afternoon. (Nunatsiaq News file photo)

The Nunavut government has lifted its do-not-drink order for Iqaluit’s drinking water.

“Thorough testing and assessments conducted over the past eight weeks, show that the water is safe for consumption and that the risk of recontamination is low,” said Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, in a statement released Friday afternoon.

“I want to thank Iqalummiut for their patience, I know these past weeks have been challenging.”

It’s been eight weeks since the government introduced the do-not-drink order on Oct. 15, following confirmation that the city’s water supply had been contaminated with fuel.

Patterson said that his office wanted to see a minimum of three consecutive test results without evidence of significant fuel contamination in the water treatment plant before lifting the do-not-drink order.

All tests done after Oct. 19 show that hydrocarbon levels are either undetectable or within safe levels for drinking, he said.

Since the discovery of fuel contamination in Iqaluit’s water supply, new monitors were installed, the site was remediated, water tanks were scrubbed and new procedures were implemented to help prevent future incidents, he said.

The City of Iqaluit cautions residents that their tap water may still occasionally smell like fuel. “Residents may still notice occasional odors in their tap water as a result of trapped vapors in the system,” the city said in a news release. “These will dissipate over time.”

The City of Iqaluit announced Friday afternoon it had suspended its distribution of bottled water and the operation of its water refilling depots, but its water quality hotline remains open until further notice.