Snow and ice buildup caused fuel spill in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, documents show

The hamlet of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. (Google Canada - image credit)
The hamlet of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. (Google Canada - image credit)

Snow and ice buildup broke an oil line at a public housing unit in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, spilling 1,230 litres of fuel into the snow on March 28.

CBC learned the details through an access to information request after weeks without a response from the Nunavut government.

Reports from Sanikiluaq conservation officers, emails and messages discuss a broken line and subsequent community cleanup.

The morning of March 28, someone with the community's housing authority sent a message to conservation officer Jonah Qittusuk to inform him of the spill.

In the message they say the unit's oil line broke between the tank and the house from the weight of snow and ice buildup.

"It looks like an entire tank of fuel drained out," they wrote to Qittusuk.

After driving to the site and meeting with the housing foreman, Qittusuk wrote in an occurrence report that a crew would load the contaminated snow into a crate and ask the hamlet to move the crate to Sanikiluaq's waste site.

Crews removed the contaminated snow into crates and moved the crates to the waste site.  (Submitted by the Government of Nunavut)

A second occurrence report on April 3 indicates the cleanup had been completed, crews dug down to the gravel to remove the contaminated snow and the crates had been moved to the waste site.

The government of Nunavut did not respond to questions of whether the broken line had been repaired.