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Water Today Title October 16, 2018

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Advisory of the Day



Nunavut is Canada's newest, northernmost and least populated territory. Vast and scattered over thousands of islands, the territory has only recently put in place a water reporting system for its larger communities.

On April 2, the Nunavut Department of Health issued a boil water advisory for the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet due to low chlorine levels in the community's distribution system. Press releases were published on April 2 and again on April 8. This might have something to do with a radio station incident that happened over the Easter holiday weekend (see below).

When we called the town office for more information, we were put through to Tom Ng, Rankin Inlet's Senior Administrative Officer. "You should be talking to the government of Nunavut, they're the ones who issued the advisory," said Ng who who came to Rankin from Ontario about 5 months ago.

"What I know is that the boil water advisory was placed on Thursday just before the the four-day holiday," says Ng. "We notified the radio station, put a message on Facebook and posted notices around town. There are over 2,000 people in Rankin, we couldn't go door-to-door "

Then according to Ng, satisfied that everything was under control, the town office closed for four days and...the wheels fell off.

On Friday, an unidentified caller contacted the radio station saying that the advisory had been lifted, a message the station immediately proceeded to broadcast. "They did not know who called, did not ask for the source's name,"says Ng. " When we came back on Tuesday we had to notify everyone that the advisory was still in effect until we get three sets of clear samples; two have already come back clean, we are waiting for the third."

As for details concerning the water treatment system, how often the water is tested and where the samples are sent for analysis, Ng told us to contact the Kivalliq Health Officer who had issued the advisory.

"I would gladly give you this information," said health officer Gary Nelson," but I am not allowed to talk to the media, the person you have to contact is the Public Health spokesperson."

We did. He was unavailable and has yet to reply to our email. Par for the course whether in the territories or downtown Toronto. Nonetheless, minus a few glitches, Nunavut has now entered the water reporting game.

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