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Military's water purification system up and running again in Iqaluit

The Canadian Press logoThe Canadian Press 2021-12-06
© Provided by The Canadian Press

IQALUIT, Nunavut — The Canadian Armed Forces says its water purification system in Iqaluit is up and running again after it was down for two weeks.

The military has been in the Nunavut capital of 8,000 residents since Oct. 23 to purify river water using a reverse-osmosis system.

Iqaluit has been under a state of emergency since Oct. 12 when fuel was detected in the city's drinking water. 

The military's water purification unit hasn't been operating since Nov. 22 when high winds knocked over a tent, leaving the system vulnerable to freezing.

The military has since moved its system inside a hangar at the city’s airport, and trucks take water back and forth from Iqaluit's Sylvia Grinnell River. 

The City of Iqaluit said now that the military's system is back up, it will no longer hand out bottled water to residents in an attempt to reduce the number of bottles in the city's landfill.


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The purified river water is available form 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day at two locations in Iqaluit and residents need to bring jugs or containers to fill up.

Along with the rest of Nunavut, there is no recycling in Iqaluit. A group of local organizations had started a program to send plastic bottles south, but it has since ended. 

The city said in a news release that it is "currently working with partners to identify solutions for the plastic waste created as a result of the recent influx of water bottles."

For now, the city wants residents to crush their bottles and keep them in recycling bags until a solution is found.

The military also said Nunavut's request for its assistance has been extended until Dec. 22 with a possible two-week extension.

There is no timeline for when Iqaluit residents will be able to drink their tap water again. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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