Military headed to Iqaluit to help provide safe drinking water, Blair says

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The federal government is sending the military to Iqaluit to help provide safe drinking water to its residents, the Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair Said Friday.

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The announcement came 11 days after city officials told 8,000 residents of Nunavut’s capital that their tap water had been contaminated with fuel, and should not be consumed.

“We will always be there to help Canadians deal with emergencies. We have approved a request for assistance from Nunavut for (Canadian military) assistance in providing safe drinking water to the people of Iqaluit,” Blair tweeted on Friday.


Iqaluit city testing showed that the tank supplying the city’s water contained a high concentration of fuel. Officials said the fuel could be diesel or kerosene, but stressed that long-term health effects are not a concern.

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Some residents previously complained about the smell of gasoline in their water a week earlier that they should not drink it. At the time, officers told him that the water was fine to drink – only to retreat the following week.

The city says it is still in the process of removing the contaminated water from its system and that residents need to have their water tanks cleaned.

On top of that, services at Iqaluit’s hospital are also being affected by the city’s water crisis as equipment cannot be cleaned with contaminated water.

Nunavut’s health department says it has so far postponed about 30 surgeries, eight urology cases and 28 dental procedures.

The city is scheduled to hold a news conference at 5 p.m. local time.

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— With files from the Canadian Press

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