QEC isolated propylene glycol leak in Rankin Inlet’s District Heating System

Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC) would like to inform Nunavummiut that a propylene glycol leak occurred in Rankin Inlet as a result of equipment failure. The incident was discovered at 2 a.m. on November 3, 2019, and an investigation began immediately. Between 15,000-20,000 litres of propylene glycol, mixed with 15,000-20,000 litres of water, may have leaked from the District Heating System (DHS) in the section of buried pipeline connected to the health centre. The affected portion of the DHS was promptly isolated and emptied. QEC has reported the incident to authorities and continues to closely monitor the situation. 

There is no evidence of the product moving through the ground or reaching the surface. At this time of year, the DHS pipeline is frozen underground making inspection difficult. QEC has determined that the best option is to wait until spring, when conditions allow for a full assessment, to determine any impact.

Propylene glycol is a clear, odourless, tasteless liquid that readily dissolves in water. Relatively non-toxic to humans and wildlife, it is found in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products in small amounts. As well, it is routinely used as a de-icing fluid at most airports, to prevent ice formation on critical surfaces before take-off. Propylene glycol is used in QEC’s District Heating System because of its ability to transfer large amounts of heat.

QEC will provide an update when a full assessment has been completed.

The corporation apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause the community.

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Media Contact:

Catherine Whittaker
Acting Manager, Corporate Communications
Qulliq Energy Corporation
(867) 979-7513
cwhittaker@qec.nu.ca