Canadian military sets up filtration system to distribute drinking water in Iqaluit

‘As that river starts to freeze, the draw that we’re going to get is less and less’ from temporary system says army commander


Iqaluit residents were unable to drink from their taps due to fuel in the water system for the 32nd straight day on Friday.

The Canadian Armed Forces have been dispatched to help out with a water filtration plant, and now the army is filling city of Iqaluit water trucks that transport it to residents.

The water comes from the Sylvia Grinnell River, and the armed forces have managed to filter it and make it drinkable without boiling. Twenty-four soldiers have been working since late last month to get a reverse osmosis water plant up and running.

“Coming up north, and operating these systems, it’s not something that we do on a regular basis. These systems have been used for a lot of disasters in the past: Haiti, the Philippines, what have you,” said Maj. Scott Purcell, task force commander with Operation Lentus.

“We’ve made history by coming up here and into the North and providing potable water.”

But with winter approaching, and freezing temperatures along with it, it’s unclear how long the army can sustain the temporary fix.

“Obviously, as that river starts to freeze, the draw that we’re going to get is less and less,” said Purcell.

Meanwhile, the Nunavut government hopes to have the results of their investigation by late next week.

The city is holding a press conference on Monday to update residents.

Watch the full story from APTN’s Kent Driscoll above.

Video Journalist / Iqaluit

Kent has been APTN’s Nunavut correspondent since 2007. In that time he has closely covered Inuit issues, including devolution and the controversial Nutrition North food subsidy. He has also worked for CKIQ-FM in Iqaluit and as a reporter for Nunavut News North.