Stronger fuel odor in water possible as flushing continues in Iqaluit, officials say

Flushing of water lines in Iqaluit continued on Saturday, a day after city officials confirmed the presence of “excessively high concentrations of various fuel components” in one of its two underground water tanks.

“Residents can continue to smell fuel in their water until at least Monday afternoon,” a brief city public service announcement said Saturday afternoon.

“Some residents may even experience stronger odors than before – this is expected during the flushing process.”

The city said it would provide another update on the status of the flushing process on Monday.

Amy Elgersma, the city’s administrative director, told a press conference on Friday that the flushing of the water distribution system began on Thursday and is expected to continue for another 48 hours.

She said once this process is complete, residents will be instructed to flush their own household lines for 20 minutes.

Operators at the water treatment plant discovered a concentrated odor in the tank this week, after residents reported the smell of fuel in tap water for more than a week. The city told residents not to drink tap water on Tuesday, and subsequently declared a local state of emergency.

Authorities said the water could contain diesel or kerosene.

Dr Michael Patterson, chief public health officer for Nunavut, said on Friday that there were no major health problems for those who drank contaminated tap water.

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