Iqaluit Water Crisis

Iqaluit, Canada

Award of Merit, Water/Wastewater

Submitted By: WSP Canada

Owner: City of Iqaluit

Lead Design Firm: WSP Canada Inc.

General Contractors: Qikiqtaaluk Environmental Inc.; Arctic Ltd.

Structural Engineer: WSP Canada Inc.

MEP Engineer: WSP Canada Inc.

Remediation Specialist: Kudlik Construction Ltd.

Complaints of a fuel-like smell coming from the water in this far-north Canadian city prompted do-not-consume orders in October 2021 and January 2022, limiting residents’ access to potable water and its hospital’s ability to sterilize equipment. 

A team of experts flown in from across Canada identified the sources of the petroleum hydrocarbon contamination and its path into the systems. Sending samples off to labs for testing was slow and costly due to the remote location and harsh winter, so the team worked with a local vendor to adapt existing technology to detect any contamination in real time along different points of the treatment process.

The team was then able to cut off the contamination’s path into the water treatment plant. Crews removed an old underground fuel storage tank, remediated contaminants in a void space under the plant and added protective material to mitigate the risk of future contamination. The project team also assisted the Canadian Armed Forces and Nunavut province government with the design and implementation of critical temporary water treatment systems.

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