Nunavut’s water source has been contaminated by petroleum
For almost ten days, the communities of Igloolik, Resolute Bay and Whale Cove have been complaining about the drinking water having an odorous smell, but they were not taken as seriously as they should have been. After several members within the community were getting sick from consuming water, a preliminary test conducted by the government of Nunavut shows the water source has been contaminated by petroleum and prompted them to issue a state of emergency and essentially declaring the current water source undrinkable.
A statement from the department of health read:
Due to the possibility of petroleum hydrocarbons at the Iqaluit water treatment plant, the Department of Health is advising Iqalummiut not to consume tap water for drinking or cooking, until further notice. This includes boiled water, filtered water through commercially sold filters such as Brita filters and filtered water through reverse osmosis systems.
Pregnant women, newborns and infants should not take baths or be bathed in tap water. Do not use tap water to mix infant formula.
The tap water may still be used for the following purposes:
- Showers (avoid swallowing 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.
Active investigations of the City’s drinking water system and additional testing of the drinking water are ongoing. The Department of Health anticipates receiving additional test results from out of territory environmental laboratories in about five business days.
The City of Iqaluit will provide additional information on access to an emergency source of drinking water shortly. Updates will be provided by the City as they become available.