Do-not-drink warning over fuel smell in some Sachs Harbour water

Some Sachs Harbour residents are being warned not to drink tap water after the smell of fuel and a “visible sheen” were found in certain homes’ supply.

The advisory, from the NWT’s chief environmental health officer, applies to anyone in Sachs Harbour who had water delivered since Monday, March 21. No illnesses have so far been reported.

Boiling water does not remove fuel from contaminated water. “To avoid possible illness, you must not drink the water,” the territorial government said in Wednesday’s advisory, recommending bottled water instead.


There was no immediate timeline for the issue, which called to mind the Iqaluit water supply’s months-long fuel contamination problem, to be resolved.

“The GNWT and community government will be investigating and will complete an assessment of the water system, including testing,” the advisory continued.

“The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer will be able to determine when the advisory can be lifted. It will remain in place until the water is deemed safe through testing and the risks of further contamination and source have been addressed.”

Drinking or cooking with tap water should stop until the advisory is lifted. Toddlers and young children should not take baths or showers as they are likely to ingest the water. Give them sponge baths instead, the territorial government said.

Adults should keep showers short. Laundry and cleaning can be done as usual.