Iqaluit's water crisis has cost the city $1.5 million so far

·1 min read
Members of the Iqaluit Fire Department assist with flushing the city's water pipes in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Dustin Patar/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Members of the Iqaluit Fire Department assist with flushing the city's water pipes in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Dustin Patar/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Iqaluit's water crisis has so far cost the municipality more than $1.5 million. And this is only the start.

City councillors will hold a special meeting on Friday to formalize a request for assistance from the Government of Nunavut to help cover the cost.

The meeting's agenda includes a breakdown of the costs incurred so far.

Among the costs are $190,000 in cleanup by Qikiqtaaluk Environmental; $198,000 to engineering firm WSP for its investigation, planning and administrative support; $43,495 in City of Iqaluit staff overtime, $36,000 in water jugs, pails and lids; $59,000 in equipment rental; and $40,000 in Inuktitut and English translation services.

The largest chunk of the $1,571,021.65 in expenses to date is the $965,677 the city wrote off in water rebates for residents through the month of October. Another $241,420 is projected in water rebates for the first week of November.

The city will be applying to the territorial government's Municipal Request for Assistance Program. It has already received $38,000 from the federal government and Nunavut Tunngavik for the water containers for residents.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Mayor Kenny Bell said the $1.5 million figure is only a start, and more costs are expected to be reported later.

The city has been in a state of emergency since Oct. 12, when staff confirmed evidence of fuel contamination in the city's treated water supply. Residents have been told the water is unsafe to drink even if it's filtered and boiled.

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