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A plumbing job at the North Pole

Image: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons

Image: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Friday, April 25, 2014, 6:05 PM -

Most home owners have horror stories to tell, but here's one that might top them: A broken pipe in the world's most northern settlement that needed an elite navy diver squad to fix.

According to the Canadian Press, two busted water pumps at CFS Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, prompted the dispatch of a plumber-diver team on an 11,000-kilometre trip this winter.

The job, conducted in the near-permanent winter darkness of February, involved drilling through metre-thick ice and sending down a robot sub to survey the damage. 


RELATED: Read about seven explorers who faced horrific conditions in the Arctic.


The nine-person team did manage to fix one broken pump, but the backup pump will have to wait until the summer.

The two broken pumps were meant as backup pumps for the main system, which draws water from a nearby lake. The outage left the station, staffed by around 75 people, vulnerable if the last pump failed and left the base without water for drinking or firefighting.

The divers were paid extra costs of $6,900 for the mission, on top of regular pay, and they hitched lifts on already scheduled flights from Halifax, NS, to Alert, via Trenton, Ont.

Aside from being Canada's, and the world's, most northern permanent inhabited place, Alert is actually closer to Moscow than to Ottawa.

With files from the Canadian Press

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