Members of the Iqaluit Fire Department in Nunavut assist with flushing the city's water pipes on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. The City says it's investigating after receiving more than 20 complaints from residents who say they smell fuel in their tap water again. The city was under a do-not-consume order for two months last fall after fuel was found in the drinking water. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dustin Patar

City of Iqaluit confirms trace amounts of fuel found in drinking water

City of Iqaluit confirms trace amounts of fuel found in drinking water

Iqaluit confirms trace amounts of fuel found in drinking water

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Iqaluit resident Kinguatsiaq Kinguatsiaq says he smelled fuel in his water a couple of days ago but assumed it must be something else.

“I figured I was wrong because I thought the situation had been resolved,” he said. “This morning I really noticed it when I was running my tap water. It was strong.”

The City of Iqaluit said in a statement Friday that trace amounts of fuel were detected in the Nunavut capital’s water supply earlier in the week, just over a month after a do-not-consume order on the city’s water was lifted.

Iqaluit’s some 8,000 people spent nearly two months under the order last fall after fuel was found in the water.

Kinguatsiaq said he’s concerned about his children drinking the water. No one in his family got sick, but both he and his son had bad headaches.

“The city should be really reliable for this because it’s risking my health and other people’s. Our trust is on them,” he said.

“They could have resolved this when it happened the first time.”

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell told The Canadian Press that the water is safe to drink.

“It’s within or better than Canadian national standards,” he said.

He said that as of 3 p.m. Friday, the city’s water system didn’t detect hydrocarbons even though it had detected traces of fuel earlier in the week.

Bell said the levels detected earlier in the week were too low to set off the monitoring system’s alarm.

He said the city had warned people that they still might smell residual fuel even after the do-not-consume order was lifted.

“This is something that we told people was likely going to happen,” Bell said.

“That’s why we have procedures in place to make sure that it’s not a new source or a continuation of an old source.”

Bell also said Qikiqtaaluk Environmental had not yet completed the cleaning of the water treatment plant and had left for Christmas holidays.

“There’s still a lot of environmental cleanup that needs to be done in the plant,” Bell said.

“Obviously people should be concerned. We all want the pristine water we’re used to.”