North

Smells may increase when Whitehorse cleans sewage lagoons

It will soon be time to clean out Whitehorse's sewage lagoons, although the city warned it might be a stinky job.

'I think it's a short-term pain for long-term gain kind of thing' says city engineer

One of the City of Whitehorse's sewage lagoons. (City of Whitehorse)

It will soon be time to clean out Whitehorse's sewage lagoons, although the city warned it might be a stinky job. 

For almost 20 years, sewage sludge has been building up in the Livingstone Trail lagoons across the river from Whitehorse. City engineer Taylor Eshpeter said it's time they were cleaned out.

"During the desludging operations there will likely be odours but I think it's a short-term pain for long-term gain kind of thing."

The Yukon Government has agreed to cover the $150,000 contract cost for the cleaning but at least one city councillor questioned its necessity. 

"Does this pass the smell test?" Asked Dave Stockdale. "I play golf there a lot and hardly ever smell anything."

Smells will worsen

The city says it receives an average of two complaints a year about the smell. 

Dave Albisser, manager of water and waste services, said the smells will only get worse as the Whistle Bend subdivision grows and the sludge piles up. 

"These odours may increase over time if we don't desludge," he said. "We do know that every municipality with aerobic lagoons do eventually have to desludge and so this will be required at some point regardless."

Construction of dry beds for the material is scheduled to start this fall, while the actual desludging work is set for some time next year.

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