Dawson City plans new water treatment plant

The existing plant was built nearly 40 years ago, and the Yukon government says it's no longer adequate.

Existing plant is nearly 40 years old, and no longer adequate

The existing water treatment plant in Dawson City was built in the late 1970s. A new plant will cost between $15 million and $20 million. (Town of Dawson City)

Dawson City's drinking water infrastructure is getting some major upgrades, with plans for a new treatment plant and a larger reservoir. 

The existing plant was built nearly 40 years ago, and the Yukon government says it's no longer adequate. The town was ordered by the government to improve how water is processed and treated.

John Skilnyk, Dawson's chief administrative officer, says the water is safe to drink right now but the current infrastructure needs to be replaced.

"This is a result of total coliform [bacteria] hits that we were finding in the water," he said. "Although they are not worrisome at this point, they are often a precursor to cryptosporidium or giardia."

Skilnyk says water samples are taken and analysed twice a week.

"We have to be on this all the time and we are ... we are monitoring the water, and we are always trying to ensure that the residents of Dawson get the best water."

New wells

Three years ago, the town constructed four new wells. Under territorial drinking water regulations passed in 2007, the well water must be treated.

The wells are known as "ground water under direct influence" (GWUDI) wells, because water from the nearby Yukon River can get into the source water. That makes the wells vulnerable to contamination by pathogens.

Plans for the new water treatment facility are now before the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB), and open for public comment.

The plan is to build the facility in two stages, starting next summer, with the completion set for 2020. The town also plans to build a larger water reservoir after the new plant is built.

The project is estimated to cost between $15 million and $20 million. 


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