Water purification unit and military personnel arrive in Iqaluit amid contamination crisis

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) says it is sending reverse osmosis water purification models to Iqaluit on the request of the Nunavut authorities, after residents had been ordered to not drink the water following proof of gas contamination in the town’s handled water provide.

Maj. Susan Magill, a public affairs officer with CAF’s northern military unit — Joint Task Force North — informed CBC News on Saturday one of many water purification models had arrived in the town that day, and one other was anticipated on Sunday. 

The metropolis has been in a state of emergency since Oct. 12, when workers confirmed proof of the gas contamination. Residents have been informed the town’s handled water is unsafe to drink even when it is filtered and boiled.

“We’re at the very beginning stages of this task,” she mentioned. “The very first wave of personnel and equipment landed today and more will follow over the next few days.” 

Magill mentioned there can be lower than 20 military personnel despatched to Iqaluit in complete — and that between 10 to 12 of these personnel can be operators for the water purification models. 

She additionally mentioned the models are “complex” and want a very good location with entry to water and area for vehicles to hold water out. Those particulars, she mentioned, will likely be found out in session with the City of Iqaluit. 

“I think it’s too early to give an exact date but we’d hope, within a week, to be able to have the two units up and running,” she mentioned. 

Crates are unloaded from the Canadian Armed Forces aircraft. Magill mentioned extra military personnel are anticipated to arrive in Iqaluit in the approaching days, and a second reverse osmosis water purification unit was anticipated to land on Sunday. (David Gunn/CBC)

City employees and residents have been gathering water from the Sylvia Grinnell River, however another answer is required because the river begins to freeze over, Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell informed CBC News Network on Wednesday.

On Friday, he mentioned that an utility was submitted final week to the federal government of Canada to repair the town’s long-term water provide, which he mentioned was “in the ballpark of $180 million.”

The metropolis’s chief administrative officer, Amy Elgersma, has mentioned an investigation has pointed to “potential contamination of the soil or groundwater” exterior Iqaluit’s water remedy plant. She mentioned this “may have leached” into one of many metropolis’s two water tanks. 

Phase 2 of an environmental evaluation — the subsurface investigation — has begun, mentioned Elgersma, and the town is anticipating drill samples early subsequent week. 

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public well being officer, mentioned officers wish to be 100 per cent sure that the water is protected to drink earlier than lifting the do-not-consume order. No date for eradicating the order has been set.

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