Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring in the Northwest Territories

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: contaminants, water quality, metals, community based monitoring, cumulative effects, hydrocarbon, methylmercury

Principal Investigator: Somers, Gila L (5)
Licence Number: 16313
Organization: GNWT ENR
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Issued: Jun 01, 2018
Project Team: Seth Bohnet (Coordinator, ENR), Ryan Gregory (Technical Lead, ENR), Laura Kruko (Technical Support, ENR)

Objective(s): To continue monitoring the data from the water quality monitoring equipment deployed at 42 sites across the NWT.

Project Description: Water quality monitoring equipment has been deployed at over 42 sites across the NWT to address community concerns.

Community members were trained to use the following equipment:
•YSI sondes: sit in the water and measure basic water quality parameters every 2 hours for up to 3 months. Analysis undertaken at ENR.
•Grab water samples: measure basic parameters, nutrients, physicals, major ions, and metals. Analysis done by Taiga Laboratory in Yellowknife.
•Polyethylene Membrane Devices (PMDs): measure oil and gas chemicals and sit in the water for up to 30 days. Analysis done at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
•Diffusion Gradient in Thin films (DGTs): DGTs sit in the water for 2-5 days and measure dissolved metals in toxic form. Analysis is done at Trent University (Ontario).

The program is based in Environment and Natural Resources supporting communities across the territory to monitor water quality at the locations of community concern. Training, capacity building are the focus of the program, and locals from 22 communities across the territory are involved in this program.

Results will be presented to communities using various communications material such as posters, calendar, summary reports and community presentations. Data is available for download and viewing at

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.