Water infrastructure around Dawson City is set for a major overhaul starting this year thanks to millions from the federal government. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Dawson set for millions of dollars worth of wastewater, sewage projects

Work on $15M of wastewater, sewage projects to start this spring

Water infrastructure around Dawson City is set for a major overhaul starting this year thanks to millions of dollars from the federal government.

Ottawa is earmarking $15 million for a new pumphouse and water treatment equipment. The money, announced last week, is mostly coming from the federal small communities fund for infrastructure. Ottawa is providing $11.25 million while the territory will fork over up to $3.75 million.

The current water system doesn’t meet the modern federal guidelines, said Louis Gerberding, superintendent of public works for the City of Dawson.

Dawson’s aquifer is drawn from the Yukon River. That makes it less isolated from surface water than other aquifers that are further underground.

“Surface water has a higher probability of bacteriological contamination whereas groundwater does not,” Gerberding said.

Currently Dawson treats its water using chlorine. There’s never been any contamination of the treated drinking water with the old system, but it doesn’t meet modern regulatory requirements, he said.

Instead of just treating with chlorine, the new system will use filtration, UV disinfection and then chlorination.

The plan is to start construction of the new facility in June 2018 and have it complete by spring 2020. The demolition of the existing facility is expected to happen in the summer of 2020.

Along with the new pumphouse, Dawson is getting more than $12 million for five smaller projects happening between this summer and 2020. That money is coming from the federal clean water wastewater fund. Like the small communities fund, Ottawa is covering 75 per cent of the cost while the Yukon government chips in the remaining 25 per cent.

Most of the tenders have already gone out.

Along Front Street, 288 metres of aging water mains and 230 metres of sewer lines are being replaced. The work will begin this year and is expected to be done by Thanksgiving 2019, Gerberding said.

The road, alleyways and boardwalks will be rebuilt. Road signs are also slated to be replaced.

Approximately 270 metres of sewer main pipe will be replaced along Fifth Avenue, from King Street to Princess Street.

The line is being made bigger so that it has the capacity to deal with Dawson’s growing population, Gerberding said. Work is scheduled to start this August and be completed by October 2018.

The York Street lift station is at the end of its life, he said. Work on building a new station should be completed this fall, but demolition of the old facility might not happen until 2019.

The Klondike Valley lift station is also getting an upgrade. Gerberding said changing out some controls and adding new flow metres, should help reduce a smell that sometimes comes out of the station.

The work is scheduled to start in the spring and continue until fall.

The last piece of infrastructure work will be replacing the Craig Street hydraulic tower. That work is not slated to start until 2019.

The hydraulic tower is responsible for transferring wastewater from the Klondike Valley sanitary sewer main.

“A lot of the efforts that we’re doing in 2018 might impact the design that is chosen for that hydraulic tower,” said Dawson City project manager Trina Buhler.

As it stands, the current tower is in such rough shape that no city staff are allowed inside.

There is hydrogen sulphide gas that has built up, potentially corroding some of the concrete, Gerberding said.

The replacement is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2019.

Companies who get these contracts will be required to come up with an asbestos exposure control plan. Some low levels of naturally-occurring asbestos have been found in the ground around Dawson, said Aisha Montgomery with the Yukon’s Department of Community Services.

It’s believed the asbestos was brought down with rocks during the prehistoric moosehide slide.

Rock from that slide was used in Dawson for fill and other construction projects until around 30 years ago, she said.

Once the projects get started, the government will be doing air quality tests at the specific sites. Depending on what is found, the required level of protection could be reduced, she said.

The cash from the clean water wastewater fund was set to expire in March of 2019. The territory was granted an extension allowing work to continue through the summer of 2019. The new deal lasts until March 2020, Gerberding said.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Dawson CityinfrastructureWater

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

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read