Toronto Star

Iqaluit’s water supply tests positive for fuel

- DAVID VENN LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER

Test results from Iqaluit’s water treatment plant found “exceedingl­y high concentrat­ions” of fuel in a water storage tank, says chief administra­tive officer Amy Elgersma.

Elgersma confirmed the presence of fuel in the city’s water supply during a Friday afternoon news conference also attended by Mayor Kenny Bell and Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer. “It’s important to note that the water quality testing of the treated reservoir located downstream from the water treatment plant showed levels well within health limits,” Elgersma said. The fuel is likely either diesel or kerosene, Patterson said. He said there is no evidence that other, more concerning chemicals, such as benzene, had contaminat­ed the water.

“The best evidence we have available right now indicates that the risk of long-term health effects is not a concern at this time,” Patterson said.

The city first heard complaints from residents that tap water smelled like fuel on Oct. 2 and began investigat­ing.

Ten days later, the city and the Government of Nunavut, which joined the investigat­ion Oct. 3, found a containmen­t tank in the city’s water treatment plant that smelled strongly of fuel. That evening, the GN and city issued advisories to not drink the water. The do-notdrink advisory will not be lifted until at least mid-next week, Patterson said.

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