Project Dashboard

Access to safe drinking water in a changing Arctic (149365)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Comte Jérôme
Company: INRS
Start Date: 2020-09-01
End Date: 2023-03-31
Operation Type: Annual
Project Description:
Global warming is causing large-scale transformations in the Arctic, including rapid reduction in the extent of permafrost, which can threaten drinking water supplies. Increasing transfers of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from permafrost to surface waters results in the 'browning' of water, which can indirectly contribute to the prevalence of cyanobacteria, changes in the nutritional quality of aquatic food resources, and toxin production. Furthermore, contaminants and pathogens trapped in thawing soils are now released to water sources. To insure drinking water safety, chlorine is typically used to inactivate pathogens. However, the practice of chlorinating water has both biomedical and belief-based problems; it can generate unwanted disinfection by-products (DBPs) when DOM is elevated in water, and northern communities have differing understandings of how to ensure purity of water. This transdisciplinary project aims to investigate and measure emerging risks from compounds and microorganisms released from permafrost thawing using a community-based participatory water quality sampling program. This project represents a unique capacity-building opportunity allowing the implementation of a water quality monitoring program that will be executed by Northerners and serve as a direct conduit for knowledge dissemination. Specifically, the project aims (1) engage and work with local communities to undertake a drinking water quality monitoring program; (2) characterize the link between DOM properties and DBP formation and the microbial communities in sources of drinking water for indigenous communities, and (3) investigate the fate of microbial communities and chemical contaminants across water purification procedures, delivery and storage. Aquatic ecosystems used by the communities of Pond Inlet and Resolute Bay as drinking water supplies will be sampled. Communities will be invited to participate in sampling and to inform where we survey and blend both ecological and traditional knowledge on water and climate change. Site visits will include measuring basic limnological properties (e.g. temperature, oxygen, pH) of drinking water sources, along with sampling for the measurement of DOM properties, microbial communities and chemical properties (DBPs, cyanotoxins, chlorine demand, contaminants). Water samples will also be collected at other natural sources of high traditional values, as well as at water treatment facilities (after chlorination), in holding tanks and at the tap. This project addresses one of the most important issues for northern communities: access to safe drinking water. This research will help characterize the environmental conditions that may lead to water quality issues, to better predict future changes in drinking water quality in a warming climate. Previous studies have mainly investigated fecal pollution of water by humans or animals in drinking water sources or in household cisterns. This project expands the scope of water quality to also consider Indigenous sciences, knowledge, lived experience, practices and policy preferences. This project will ensure Indigenous access, ownership, and control over data and information that will strengthen their autonomy in the monitoring of water quality. We foresee that the water quality metrics generated through this project will serve to develop new guidelines for water treatment strategies, implement northern community science initiatives, and inform on the accessibility to potable drinking water in the North.
Persons: 3
Days: 14
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
6362 point Pond Inlet
6363 point Resolute Bay
6365 point Cambridge Bay
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Settlement Area
North Baffin Planning Region
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
NWB: Approval to Use Water/Deposit Water Without a Licence
NRI: Scientific Research Licence
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
No records found.
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
No records found.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
0.035 Fill containers from municipal facilities drinking water sources
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
There is no associated environmental impact with the proposed research. Similarly, the research will generate minimal waste (tubes, pipette tips) that will be brought back to Quebec.
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
No data found.
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2020-05-21
Originator: Comte Jérôme
Public Registry ID: 17805
Document Size: 82.34 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2020-05-21
Originator: Comte Jérôme
Public Registry ID: 17806
Document Size: 36.7 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2020-05-27
Originator: Peter Scholz
Public Registry ID: 17813
Document Size: 479.68 Kb
2020-05-26 16:00:40, from: Peter Scholz
 Under "Authorizing Agencies", please add NRI to allow us to proceed with this application. Remember to save changes before resubmitting.


Environmental Protection:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to prevent any new occurrences of pollution, garbage and contamination at the site of the development.

Removal of Fuel Drums:
s3.13.8: The applicant undertakes to remove all drums safely from the site and dispose of the drums in a safe manner.

New Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.1 and Appendix H, s1: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its natural condition to the greatest extent possible.

Old Site Restoration and Clean Up:
s3.13.2: The applicant undertakes to clean up the site and restore the site to its original condition to the greatest extent possible, including any work required due to the applicant's action prior to this application.

Low-Level Air Flights:
Appendix H, s3: Will the applicant avoid all low-level flights?

Caribou Protection Measures:
s3.3.7 and Appendix D: Will the applicant comply with the Caribou Protection Measures outlined in section 2.4.6 and in Appendix D?

Caribou Water Crossings:
s3.3.7 and map: Will the applicant avoid, between may 15 and September 1, to construct any camp, cache any fuel or conduct any blasting within 10 km of any Designated Caribou Water Crossing identified

Polar Bear Denning Areas and Walrus Haul-outs:
s3.3.8: Will the applicant keep its activities away from any polar bear denning area or walrus haul-out?

Reporting of Archaeological Sites:
s3.11.3 and Appendix H, s2 and s8: Will the applicant immediately report the discovery of all suspected archaeological sites to the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (GN)?

Scientific Research:
s3.9.3: Does the project proposal involve scientific research?
If yes, will the applicant integrate all available and relevant local and traditional knowledge when conducting its research?

Consultation with Nunavut Research Institute:
s3.9.5: Has the applicant consulted with the Nunavut Research Institute about research topics that would benefit or interest local residents?
ii. If no, explain why.
Consultations have been done directly with the communities who have expressed interest in the research given that drinking water quality is of great concern in the North. Having this said, NRI has been contacted to inform them about the project but they have not responded yet.
Local Services and Local Employment:
s3.9.4: Will the applicant rely on local services and employment where possible?
i. Describe the services retained and the people to be employed.
The project aims to hire residents to help with sampling and sample processing. In addition, local hiring will pursue beyond our visit in order to expand the water quality monitoring period.

Communication on Scientific Research:
s3.2.8: The applicant will, at minimum, translate a summary of its work into Inuktitut and communicate with communities using language that is clear and non-technical. The results of all scientific re