Whitehorse discharges treated sewage into Yukon River annually
'When we actually discharge, it's very high quality water,' says city manager
Every fall, the City of Whitehorse release a year's worth of wastewater into the Yukon River from its sewage lagoon to make room for new inflows.
Even though the equivalent of eight Olympic swimming pools of wastewater may be released every day during the discharge period, which runs until December 15 this year, Whitehorse's manager of water and waste services says it has very little impact.
The water doesn't go straight from toilets and sewers into the river. Wastewater is collected and moved from primary to secondary storage ponds in the Livingstone Trail Sewage Lagoon. Its final stage before being released into the river is the long-term pond, which can hold a year's worth of wastewater.
The wastewater is released in the fall because most of the treatment happens in the summer, says Albisser. That's when nutrients in the water get used up and it contains the fewest contaminants and solids.
Built for growth
The sewage lagoon is about 20 years old but was built with population estimates in mind, Albisser says.
He says it should be able to accommodate the growth of areas like Whistle Bend, since the long term storage pond is only using about two-thirds of its six million cubic metre capacity.
"So we do have a bit of room yet," Albisser says.