CANMORE, ALTA. -- Residents of Nunavut's capital city, Iqaluit, are being warned not to consume the city's drinking water due to the possibility of petroleum hydrocarbons.
The city’s Department of Health has issued a do not drink water advisory. Residents are being advised not to consume tap water for drinking or cooking until further notice. Both boiled and filtered water are not safe for consumption at this time.
"Pregnant women, newborns and infants should not take baths or be bathed in tap water. Do not use tap water to mix infant formula," reads a public health advisory issued Tuesday.
Laundry, cleaning and showers are deemed safe by the city, though residents are urged not to swallow any water when bathing.
The announcement comes days after the city received complaints about a fuel-like odour coming from resident's taps.
"Active investigation of the city's drinking water system and additional testing of the drinking water are ongoing," read the advisory. "The Department of Health anticipates receiving additional test results from out of territory environmental laboratories in about five business days."
During an emergency city council meeting Tuesday, councillors said a do not drink water notice must be used when a risk is identified and associated with water consumption that cannot be adequately address by boiling the water or issuing a water quality advisory.
“This can include, for example, a chemical spill near water intake or where a water system may have been subject to vandalism or an event that resolution through additional disinfection protocols happened,” Amy Elgersma, chief administrative officer said during the council meeting.
“In this case, we suspect that there is some type of petroleum product that has entered the water system.”
Residents who receive trucked water are asked to empty their tanks by running their taps dry.
The city will have chlorinated water for residents. Those who are trucked water will receive the water in their tanks, those who are not will be distributed water at designated public stations, starting tonight at 6:30 p.m. local time. Residents are asked to bring their own jugs to get water.
Councillors noted that residents who have been collecting water from the local river should adequately boil the water before using it, as it is untreated.