The Stream, December 14, 2021: Iqaluit Residents Receive Clean Water After Petroleum Leak Contaminates Supplies


  • Scientists find evidence that the Omicron variant was present in California before it was named a “variant of concern” by WHO.
  • Unwanted water is costing taxpayers in London, Ontario more than $1 million per year.
  • Residents in a rural Canadian community have clean water for the first time in two months.
  • Indigenous communities in coastal Louisiana struggle to rebuild after bearing the brunt of Hurricane Ida.

The water supply in Mayfield, Kentucky is destroyed by severe storms.

“This is one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history. We will make it through this. We will rebuild.” – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Fierce storms over the weekend caused several tornadoes that killed dozens of people and left entire towns in ruin. Kentucky’s governor announced on Saturday that the death toll in the state could rise to more than 100. The town of Mayfield’s water tower was hit by the storm, leaving residents without water. President Biden said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed water and supplies, along with search and rescue teams.


In Case You Missed It:  

What’s Up With Water—December 13, 2021 – This week’s episode covers water scarcity in the Middle East and water contamination in Hawaii.

HotSpots H2O: Report Spotlights Funding Gap in Canada’s First Nations Water Crisis – Nearly half of water systems in the country’s Indigenous communities are considered to have substantial deficiencies.

Wastewater Samples Confirm Omicron Was Present in California Before Global Experts Discovered It

Water samples in California suggest the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was present in the United States before the World Health Organization declared it “a variant of concern.” Wastewater sampling has been widely adopted as a way to detect the virus early and stop the spread of the disease. Wastewater samples confirmed the scattered presence of the variant in Sacramento and Merced counties as well, although officials have not found evidence of an Omicron outbreak.



“Inflow infiltration,” or water that enters sewage pipes from sources other than sinks or toilets, is costing the city London, Ontario around $1.4 million a year. This unwanted water, according to the city’s engineers, can cause sewer backups and basement flooding. To solve the problem, the city is working to separate combined sewers and help homeowners disconnect drainage systems that send stormwater into the sewer.


Health officials lifted a do-not-consume order in Iqaluit, Nunavut, a rural community in northern Canada, late last week. The city’s nearly 8,000 residents have not had access to clean water for nearly two months after officials discovered a petroleum leak had contaminated the water supply in October. Officials said the risk of recontamination is low after a number of measures took place to ensure the water’s safety.


The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw confederation, a group of Indigenous communities living in coastal Louisiana, is struggling to rebuild after bearing the brunt of Hurricane Ida in late August. In the town of Chauvin, hundreds of people lost their homes. Now, many sleep in tents near their damaged homes, or in vehicles. FEMA aid can take months to appear, so local officials like Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar, the leader of the Grand Caillou/Dulac tribe, have begun organizing relief efforts themselves. Months later, their communities are still in shambles. Tribe members say the recovery effort could stretch on for months or years without federal aid.

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