The mayor of Iqaluit Kenny Bell announced on Twitter on Oct. 12 that there will be an emergency meeting in the evening at 5:45 p.m. regarding the ongoing water issue in the city.
This followed an early morning public service announcement dated Oct. 10 advising people to report any reports of a fuel odor coming from drinking water.
“Previous test results found that the risk of contamination at the time was low and that the water was safe to drink. Observations at the Iqaluit water treatment plant today found evidence of potential hydrocarbons contamination,” stated the City.
The City has retained the support of a consulting engineering firm and is working with Public Health officials.
Investigations of the city’s drinking water system are still ongoing, however Iqaluit CAO Amy Elgersma said “concentrated odors” have been located at the City’s water treatment plant.
Water samples have been sent down south with additional test results expected to come back within five business days.
Councillor Sheppard also proposed a local state of emergency, a motion that passed unanimously. Sheppard is calling on the Government of Nunavut and the feds to assist in ensuring “an adequate water supply … and all temporary measures required in the interim.”
“A PSA from the Government of Nunavut and City of Iqaluit is coming out soon with information but in the time being please don’t drink the water in Iqaluit,” Bell posted.
Nearly 400 people tuned into the City’s livestream, although most of the discussion was held in-camera.
The Government of Nunavut announced at the same time as the meeting advising Iqalummuit to not drink tap water in Iqaluit due to the possibility of hydrocarbons being in the water. This includes boiled and filtered water.
Pregnant women, newborns and infants should not take baths or be bathed in tap water.
Tap water may be still used for the following purposes:
– Showers (avoid swallowing the water)
Grocery stores in Iqaluit are also seeing a run on bottled water products, with one employee at NorthMart saying they know just about as much as everyone, don’t drink the water in Iqaluit.
The City has also set up a drinking water hotline which residents can call at 867-979-5603, which can be called during regular business hours. They also have chlorinated treated water trucks available for residents who receive water in their tanks.
Those who have trucked water are to run their current water though their taps before receiving the treated water.
There is more information expected to be available by the City at the end of the week when test results come back, Elgersma said.