Tests confirm Watson Lake family’s well contaminated

Tests have confirmed a Watson Lake family's drinking water is contaminated with hydrocarbons, but Sonja Rueck says authorities still aren't helping her family.

Tests have confirmed a Watson Lake family's drinking water is contaminated with hydrocarbons.

Environment Yukon says investigators are still looking into the source of the contamination, but the family says it's getting no help from authorities.

"We do blame them and they just ignore us,” says Sonja Rueck.

She and her husband have been showering at the local recreation centre and hauling drinking water in containers since May.

Last summer, the pair complained to Environment Yukon about a spill at the junkyard next door to their house. A spill order was issued demanding the property owner clean it up. Rueck says that cleanup only made things worse.

"The big spill happened on public land, they agreed with the town of Watson Lake to set up that crusher, and yup, they are the cause."

Environment Yukon concedes that it ordered the spill cleaned up. One year later, spokesperson Melissa Madden says investigators are still trying to determine if it was done.

"We are looking into it, that being said it may be difficult to prove what directly caused the contamination of the water well on the Rueck's property."

Madden says the government may assist with remediation but only if the allegations can be proven.

Watson Lake mayor, Richard Durocher, says Environment Yukon should do whatever it takes to restore clean drinking water for the Reuck family.

“I would say the Yukon Government should step up,” he says. “[The couple] are the victims here;  they are not the people at fault. They made a substantial investment in their home in our community, they like it here in the summers and they shouldn't have to be under this kind of stress."