CFS Alert

Technical writer for Environmental and Waste Services on Ellesmere Island and Staffing Plans for successful CFS Alert 2021 bid. Water Treatment Operator at CFS Alert on Ellesmere Island for a short-term contract from Aug 2009 to Oct 2009.

Canadian Forces Station Alert

CFS Alert

CFS Alert is located at the north-eastern tip of Ellesmere Island, about 817 km from the North Pole. It is a military station that maintains signals intelligence to support Canadian military operations and plays a key role in projecting Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. Environment and Climate Change Canada operates a weather station in CFS Alert. The station is closed to public access or use.


Water Treatment Operator for term contract from Nov 2023 to Dec 2023.

Technical writer for Environmental and Waste Services on Ellesmere Island and Staffing Plans for successful CFS Alert 2021 bid.

Water Treatment Operator for term contract from Aug 2009 to Oct 2009.

Contract Award

Nasittuq Corporation, an Inuit majority-owned corporation, was awarded a C$122M contract from the government of Canada in Oct 2022 to provide operations and maintenance support at Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. The eight-and-a-half-year contract with two four-year extension options covers all site support services for CFS Alert, including accommodations, food services, maintenance and operation of grounds and roads, power plants, buildings, generators, water and sewage treatment systems, landfills, fuel storage tanks, a 1,675 m (5500 ft) gravel runway, and a quarry operation. Nasittuq will also maintain approximately 90 buildings and provide accommodation services for the nearly 80 people who live and work at the station.

The new contract was awarded following a competitive bid process, and Nasittuq was the incumbent contract holder having provided site operations and maintenance services at CFS Alert since 2012. Work under this new contract for Ellesmere Island will commence in June 2023.

The contract includes a mandatory Inuit Benefits Plan, which will ensure further economic benefits are provided to Inuit businesses and communities in accordance with the Nunavut Directive. The Nunavut Land Claim also applies to this contract as the delivery point at Ellesmere Island is within the designated land claim area.

Water Treatment Plant (WTP)

The source water for Alert Station water treatment plant (WTP) is from Upper Dumbbell Lake. Dumbbell Lake covers some 264 hectares (900 acres) with an average depth of 7.6 m and of very good quality.  For about nine months each year the lake is entirely covered by ice, which reaches a thickness of 1.8 to 2.75 m.  The ice typically breaks up in mid-July and freezes again in early September.  During the short ice-free season, the runoff from the lake has been gauged at 13,600 m3 daily.  The presence of summer sunshine for 24 hours each day allows the lake temperature to reach a high of over 4°C in the summer.  In the winter it ranges from 0°C under the ice to about 2°C near the bottom.

The intake structure consists of three 250 mm diameter pre-insulated plastic pipes installed at an angle of 14° from horizontal. The intakes slope into the lake for 30 m to the Lower Water Pump House (LWPH) constructed on a man-made causeway that extends approximately 100 m into the lake. Water is drawn from one of three pumps located in the LWPH and travels 2,438 m through a 75 mm diameter high-density polyethylene factory insulated, heat traced metal clad pipe to the SWTP. Water is pumped to the Station at approximately 265 m3/day, of which 120 m3/day (about 40%) is pumped back via the return line to ensure the intakes do not freeze up.

The WTP is constructed on an elevated ventilating berm. To maintain stability of the foundation, it is important that the ventilation culverts remain open during the winter months and closed during the warmer summer months of June, July, and August. This is to ensure that warm surface air does not enter the culvert and begin thawing out the berm beneath the plant.

The principal components of the WTP consist of two high-pressure anthracite filters, a chlorination pump, two 227,000 L storage tanks, distribution pumps (three electric pumps and a stand-alone diesel), and a heat recovery system. The heat exchange system consists of stainless-steel heat exchange plates and two boilers using glycol warms water returning to the LWPH so that water supply is not interrupted from freezing of the intakes. An air compressor is located at the WTP for general usage requiring compressed air and for clearing lines in an emergency to prevent rupture from freezing.

A hypochlorinator pumps a calcium hypochlorite solution into the water after it has been filtered.  The quantity of hypochlorite added will depend on the flow rate of raw water from the LWPH and the chlorine demand of the raw water.  A free available chlorine (FAC) residual of 0.4 mg/L is targeted for water in the entire distribution network to ensure that the water can be regarded as free from pathogenic bacteria.

The distribution pumps (also known as the high-lift pumps) maintain 413 kPa of pressure throughout the station. Excess water is returned into the storage tanks where any overflow flows out the waste line leading to the ocean. The station water distribution system is a continuous re-circulating loop system.  The distribution of water for the station is affected by pumping water from the storage tanks in the WTP through the domestic pump unit into the station utilidor distribution system and finally returning back to the top of the storage tanks in the WTP.

Developed a comprehensive operating manual for the water supply and treatment system by compiling technical documentation, hand over notes and site photographs. Updated the following SOPs:

  • Backwashing the High-Pressure Anthracite Filters
  • Chlorine Batching
  • Cleaning Chlorine Injector
  • Distribution Pumps
  • Fire Booster Pump
  • Start-up and Operating the Boilers
  • Draining Glycol/Water Mixture from Heating System
  • Re-filling Heating System with Glycol/Water Mixture
  • Start-up and Operating the Heat Exchangers
  • Ventilating Culverts Beneath the SWTP
  • Pulling the Raw Water Supply Pumps
  • Start-Up at the LWPH
  • Regulating Return Water Flow Rates
  • Fire Drill
  • Operating Fire Booster Pump In Lieu of Normal Distribution Pumps
  • Restored Power Routine
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