Iqaluit water tests confirm hydrocarbon contamination at water treatment plant

Press Release

Iqaluit, Nunavut (October 15, 2021) – The Department of Health today received water test results from a lab in Ontario confirming the presence of elevated hydrocarbons at Iqaluit’s water treatment plant.

“The Department of Health tested six sites along the City of Iqaluit’s water filtration system,” said Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Michael Patterson. “Of those sites, the North Clear Well holding tank at the water treatment plant, revealed levels of contamination that could cause harm if the water is consumed. However, water in the treated reservoir which is the last point before water delivery, showed levels below what would cause health risks if consumed.”

Through the testing analysis, the Department of Health has also determined that it is unlikely there will be health impacts to consuming the water for the past week and that the level of hydrocarbon identified in the water cannot be absorbed through the skin.

Until further notice, the do not consume advisory for the city remains in place. Until further notice:
• Do not to consume tap water for drinking or cooking. This includes boiled water, filtered water through commercially sold filters such as Brita filters and filtered water through reverse osmosis systems.
• Do not use tap water to mix infant formula.

Tap water may still be used for the following purposes:
• Laundry.
• Cleaning.
• Baths and showers are allowed (avoid swallowing water).
• Pregnant women, newborns and infants can bathe or be bathed using tap water.
• Washing dishes.

The Department of Health, in cooperation with the City of Iqaluit is doing additional testing along the city’s water distribution system. Further testing at the water treatment plant will also be conducted in the upcoming days. Updates on the do not consume advisory will be provided next week.


Media Contact:

Chris Puglia
Acting Manager of Communications
Department of Health


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