Project Dashboard


  • NIRB File No:


  • Application No.:


  • Project Type:

    Scientific Research

  • Project Name:

    Characterizing Iqaluit's baseline municipal wastewater contaminant loadings to the marine environment

Completed Screening

Primary Contact
Regulatory Authorities
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The University of Manitoba (Dr. Mark Hanson, Department of Environment and Geography) and University of Winnipeg (Dr. Charles Wong, Department of Chemistry) are proposing to evaluate the City of Iqaluit’s wastewater effluent for contaminants. Our overall objective is to better understand the risks, if any, wastewater might pose to ecosystems or human health within Frobisher Bay. We plan to measure contaminants at sites in Frobisher Bay near Iqaluit influenced by wastewater effluent, and at reference locations, distant from any wastewater sources. Work will be carried out between 2018-2022 by Drs. Hanson and Wong, their students, and with the assistance of local guides and field technicians from Iqaluit. Sampling will be accomplished by deploying small devices (“passive samplers”) in the water column for several weeks that will take up the contaminants of interest or by collecting small volumes of water (approximately 2L) for analysis. No environmental modification or damage will occur as a result of the proposed sampling approaches. Chemical and biological analysis will occur in Winnipeg or other labs. To understand if season matters for contaminant concentrations, we will collect samples in the summer and winter This will let us know how well the wastewater treatment plant works and how far wastewater extends into Frobisher Bay at different times of year. By comparing the contaminant levels near Iqaluit with those from reference sites, we will determine the relative importance of local sources, such as wastewater discharges, vs. long-range sources, such as ocean water and the atmosphere. The contaminants to be measured include microplastics, nutrients, contaminants of emerging concern (e.g., pharmaceuticals), and microbial contaminants (e,g., E. coli and antibiotic resistant bacteria). We also hope to deploy and sample in the drinking water source for the City of Iqaluit. Data will be made freely available to the public and other interested parties and yearly public updates in Iqaluit will take place. We encourage interested members of the public to get in touch with ideas or concerns they may have related to wastewater in Nunavut.This project will enable the collection of coastal environmental baseline data to help better understand the current state of the ecosystem in the Iqaluit region, Frobisher Bay, and surrounding areas as it relates to wastewater contaminants. The project will also contribute to the capacity building in Nunavut to collect environmental data into the future. Results will not only provide an open source of data to compare between regions and over time, but may also support evidence-based decision-making (such as traditional harvesting, infrastructure development, city planning, public health policy).

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • Application screening started 2018-07-11
  • Commenting period 2018-07-23
  • Received Comment submissions from Parties: Notice re comments received 2018-07-24
  • Board voting 2018-08-01
  • Board voting 2018-08-02
  • SDR Issued 2018-08-02
  • NOI Issued 2018-08-02
  • Application screening completed 2018-08-02
  • South Baffin
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