Analytical Services Unit

Analytical Services Unit
Analytical Services Unit

Iqaluit ASU (IASU)

Iqaluit Analytical Services Unit 2011-2019; Nunavut Research Institute

2019 is the twelfth year that the ASU has had an environmental laboratory presence in Iqaluit. This is the eighth year which the Iqaluit ASU (IASU) is operating from our new facilities in the Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) building. The laboratory was staffed for the summer season. The laboratory will continue to be accredited by CALA (formerly CAEAL) for specific tests listed in the scope of accreditation - including metals in soil. This year there was also a strong focus on Inuit training and Drs Allison Rutter and Bubby Kettlewell as well as Sonja Koster and Mesha Thompson were in the lab this summer.  

Sonja Koster and Mesha Thompson worked with students in our "Environmental Sampling and Analysis Training Program"

This program has been running since 2010 and prior to this IASU’s parent laboratory at Queens’s University, (Analytical Services Unit) maintained on-site and off-site training programs for several years while participating in the DEW-line clean-up at Resolution Island.  All of the training programs have been developed for Inuit and other residents of Nunavut to increase their understanding of contaminants in the arctic environment and to help prepare them for possible future employment in site remediation projects as well as environmental monitoring.


Iqaluit Training 2015


The current course also introduced participants to laboratory practices that are defined by the ISO/IEC 17025 Standard that is used internationally by accredited laboratories. As part of our work in the IASU with the ArcticNet project, hundreds of water samples were collected from local water sources by other ArcticNet researchers for metals analysis. These samples were available for Iqaluit based ‘metals testing’. Preliminary testing of some samples was carried out using the AA at the Iqaluit laboratory.  A selection of these samples (96) were ultimately shipped to the ASU at Queens University and analyzed using ICP-MS and ICP-OES techniques to determine a broad range of analytes and potential contaminants at extremely low concentrations.


Where is Iqaluit?

Location of Iqaluit on map
"Iqaluit is the territorial capital and the largest community of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Iqaluit is located on the south coast of Baffin Island at the head of Frobisher Bay".

Iqaluit, Wikipedia


IASU and the NRI

In March 2012, staff from the IASU were at the NRI building to teach a 3 week Environmental Technology Course.

NRI Building

"The Nunavut Research Institute is a gateway to the many exciting research and technology development initiatives underway in the territory" - Nunavut Arctic College

Visit the NRI website

The laboratory was equipped with a Varian AA280FS (fast sequential atomic absorption spectrometer), a gas chromatograph and a Panalytical Minipal-4 energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence instrument (EDXRF). In addition to the improved testing capabilities, this new venture will allow ASU to increase training opportunities.

Setting up the IASU March 2011

Unpacking IASU


The Environmental Technology Program at Nunavut Arctic College is housed in the same facility as the IASU laboratory. In March 2011, three ASU staff spent a full day teaching the first and second year Environmental Technology students. Lectures on remediation at Arctic field sites and a hands on laboratory in which the students analysed soils for petroleum hydrocarbons and metals were very well received by the Arctic college staff and students. A full course at Nunavut Arctic College was taught in March 2012 and the course was given again in the summer of 2014 and 2015.


IASU before the move
IASU mobile lab trailer before the move



NRI and IASU in the News

Dr Allison Rutter and Dr Bubby Kettlewell were at the IASU in August 2011 to prepare for the laboratory CALA accreditation process.

This coincided with a visit from the current Governor General of Canada, his Excellency the Right Honourable David Loyd Johnson. Dr Rutter met with the Governor General and showed him the new IASU facility.

Dr. Allison Rutter with Governor General of Canada