Dawson City plans improvements to water system

Dawson City is looking at major improvements to its water system, following the completion of four new wells this summer.

Dawson City is looking at major improvements to its water system, following the completion of  four new wells this summer.

Construction of the wells cost $2.9 million, and they're expected to be hooked up to Dawson City's water system next year.

The new wells are larger, meet modern standards and reduce the amount of manganese present in the water. Manganese doesn't pose health risks but it does leave residue in pipes.

"This should result in better water quality in the future, and also lessen the need to treat this water for manganese," said Norm Carlson, Dawson City's superintendent of public works.

Dawson City's wells are mostly fed by groundwater, but also get some water from the Yukon River. Under territorial drinking water rules passed in 2007, that means Dawson has to build a water treatment plant.

"Water treatment can be expensive, so we have to look at providing water treatment with the lowest operation and maintenance costs, and the most robust type of system suitable for the North," said Carlson.

"The better we plan it, the better the end result will be, so we want to make sure we plan something that will be applicable to Dawson and that also will not cost a fortune to operate."

Carlson said the town also needs to replace its aging pumphouse. He said it's too early to know how much this work will cost, but planning is underway.