Though a December 2008 deadline has been flushed away, Dawson’s sewage lagoon plans are proceeding fast enough to satisfy retired territorial court judge Heino Lilles.
“The judge was pretty happy,” said Dawson City mayor John Steins after Lilles reviewed the town’s progress last week.
The hearing was part of a 2003 court order placed on the community after it dumped sewage in the Yukon River.
The city was fined $5,000.
But the town’s sewage woes date back more than 25 years.
All parties are now obliged to report their progress to the court during biannual hearings.
Despite his retirement, Lilles has continued to monitor the case. As well, the issue has been a top priority for Steins and town council.
They’ve been working in partnership with the Yukon government, which is driving the project.
The proposed solution is a three-cell lagoon located next to a ball diamond at the entrance to town.
Various locations were scouted out, but a site next to the road leading to the Dome subdivision was considered best suited for a wastewater treatment plant.
Some residents are concerned about the location.
“People believe it will stink, and there’s a psychological aspect to it too,” said Steins.
But the aerated lagoon won’t smell and higher costs prevent building the plant farther outside town, he said.
The proposal now must be reviewed under the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act.
After this assessment, a recommendation will be made to the territory. The decision rests with the Yukon government.
However, the environmental assessment board could take up to two years to complete its work.
The treatment plant is supposed to be in place by December 31st, 2008.
Dawson is not expected to make its deadline.
“We’re now looking at 2011,” said Steins.
Despite that, Lilles was content with the progress made by the Yukon government and town council.
“I think we showed more than due diligence,” said Steins.
“We’ve now reached a stage where the groundwork has been laid.
“All that’s left to do now is wait” for the assessment.