The straight facts

Until this year, the high water level in our well has never been a concern or an issue. In the 32 years of living in our home, which is located on 7th Avenue (half in, half out of the Village of Mayo boundaries), we have never had to...

Until this year, the high water level in our well has never been a concern or an issue.

In the 32 years of living in our home, which is located on 7th Avenue (half in, half out of the Village of Mayo boundaries), we have never had to worry about high water levels causing such a disruption to our life, not to mention grief, worry and stress.

The cause of this latest flooding is due to a hole (which was first discovered in 1992) under the Mayo dike.

This hole has resulted in the migration of water into Mayo.

Within the past 18 years, the dike should have been repaired and upgraded. Instead, the quick fix at that time was water pumped from the town side over to the river side. That lessened and lowered the flow of water into town until the high spring runoff subsided.

That process worked.

Emergency Measures’ Chris MacPherson has stated the Mayo dike is not a dike. Was it not constructed as a dike to protect Mayo from high water? On maps, it is referred to as a dike and known to all Mayo residents as a dike. Now you’re telling me that, after 60 years, it is no longer a dike. Who wants to believe that?

As a direct result of the Mayo River flood today, as confirmed by Whitehorse Environmental Health, our drinking water is contaminated.

Our most serious concern is our septic field and system, which is submerged under water, not allowing for sewer drainage. Quite possibly, the sewer may back up, running into our well water. This can be expected if the septic field freezes over the remaining winter months.

If that happens, then we will no longer be able to use our facilities, thus being forced to vacate our premises. Long-term damage might include a frozen septic field which will have to be excavated and reconstructed. Groundwater has now reached the gravel bed in our basement, higher than it has ever been.

A few weeks ago, representatives from Emergency Measures Organization and Yukon Energy came to our residence to view and photograph our well. At that time I explained the only way to alleviate the flow of water into the YEC diesel plant yard, Dan Klippert’s property and our property was to pump the water back into the river just as we had in 1992.

Prior to this, on December 14, I strongly emphasized this method to the Village of Mayo, YEC, and the YTG Highways foreman of the necessity to immediately start pumping the water back into the river.

Once again, I emphasized the flooding situation back in 1992.

This should have been a wake-up call.

Finally, on January 2nd, a decision was made to start pumping water from the Mayo side back into the river.

In the first 24 hours of pumping water, our water table began to slowly drop. Now that the pumps are no longer being used on a regular basis, our water well is on the rise once again.

Our life has been disrupted, and the constant worry about flooding in our basement has had a negative impact on our health. Since this water problem, we have had to rely on the use of our vehicle to transport us back and forth to the Yukon Energy house to haul drinking water, do laundry and to use the shower and washroom facilities. This requires us having to keep our vehicle plugged in 24-7 during the cold winter temperatures. Normally, we use our vehicle only when necessary, especially during the winter.

I am a self-employed placer miner. It is crucial that my time is used to repair equipment throughout the winter months so that my equipment is ready for the next mining season. If not ready, then I am forced to do repairs when I should be mining. Take into consideration that there are, on average, only one hundred mining days in a season. Because of this disastrous flood situation, to date I have lost a month of work and numerous nights of sleep due to the stress of our situation and it will be a long time coming until this situation will be resolved.

What are we to look forward to when natural high water levels occur in the spring?

How are we to be compensated for all the grief, worry, stress and inconvenience this flooding has caused?

We cannot drink our water, we cannot use our laundry facilities, and it is just a matter of time when we are forced out of our home because of the inadequate living conditions.

I hold three levels of government fully responsible for this issue: EMO, Village of Mayo and Community Services. The existing hole in the dike has been common knowledge for the past 18 years. They chose to do nothing to repair it. It is not rocket science, just a hole in the dike!

Because of the lack of responsibility from the three departments, we are forced to deal with disruption and damages to our property.

To date, the only assistance we have received is from Yukon Energy. They have allowed us to use shower and laundry facilities in one of their company houses. We are thankful and appreciate it very much.

The Mayo B hydro project benefits all Yukoners alike.

Upon completion, approximately $150 million will have been spent on this hydro project once it is connected to the Whitehorse power grid.

To accomplish this undertaking, the Mayo River from the bridge downstream must be reconstructed creating a new diversion channel by cutting off the two meandering bends in the Mayo River that are the cause of the glaciation (this can be viewed on Google Earth, which is self-explanatory).

Fisheries and Oceans, First Nations and the environmentalists must accept and support this necessary change.

I have tried to convince all levels of government of the necessary importance of this diversion channel.

Once Mayo B is completed, YEC will require a well-constructed river channel due to the fact that there will be an increased amount of water discharged from the hydro turbines back into the river.

It is proven that fish have the ability to adapt to a temporary change to their environment. Scientific research has proven that fish are of superior intelligence compared to humans.

The approximate length of this diversion is 2,400 feet. Information for construction of channel diversions can be found in the Guide Book of Mitigation Measures for Placer Mining in the Yukon. I do not claim to be an expert in this field, but I have 40 years of placer mining knowledge and experience of constructing diversion channels under the Fisheries and Placer Authorization.

When I do a diversion channel I must use a commonsense approach because, in the end, I incur all expenses.

The expenditures to date prove a lack of knowledge has wasted money thrown at this avoidable disaster.

The reality of what was once a picturesque river system is now a disaster of broken trees pushed into the river to cross back and forth.

A placer miner even contemplating this method of excavation and reconstruction would be charged with an offence under the Fisheries Act.

It is time to stop wasting money. An engineered plan must be implemented. It is time to use commonsense. The ice will not melt until spring, so take the time and do it right.

Kim & Cheryl Klippert

Stephron Resources

Mayo

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read