Dawson sewage plant problems persist

The Dawson wastewater treatment plant is still failing water quality tests. The facility has been plagued with problems since in opened in 201.

The Dawson wastewater treatment plant is still failing water quality tests.

The facility has been plagued with problems since in opened in 2012. Operations of the plant had been scheduled to be handed over to the City of Dawson in 2013, but still have not been because of the outstanding problems.

Samples taken on March 25 failed water quality tests, according to a report filed with the town in April. This is particularly concerning because the load on the system will increase dramatically as tourists begin to show up in a month or two.

“The toxicity test passed although one of the fish died which is unusual for March when our wastewater is normally dilute,” according to the report. “Clearly the plant is not compliant with our water licence even in March. It should prove interesting to see what the results will look like in May and June. There are many construction deficiencies left outstanding such as valving problems, concrete liner failure and ventilation.

“It is possible that both the territorial and federal regulatory authorities will become more aggressive now that the plant has proven to be non-compliant with our water licence in both winter and summer.”

Klondike MLA and Liberal Leader Sandy Silver asked about the outstanding problems in the legislature Monday.

He wanted to know if the Yukon government would help out if operations costs turn out to be higher than projections suggest.

“Earlier this year, officials from the minister’s department put the operating cost to run this new facility at $340,000. People I’ve spoken to in Dawson think that this number might be a little bit unrealistic and don’t believe that the amount will even cover the fuel bill, let alone operations of the facility.”

Dawson Mayor Wayne Potoroka confirmed in an email that the town expects the facility to cost $872,440 annually in operating costs. Heat and electricity costs alone are expected to run $365,000.

Community Services Minister Brad Cathers confirmed that the Yukon government will continue to work with Dawson to ensure that the facility is affordable.

“If the costs of operating the facility turn out to be significantly higher than anticipated, we have a commitment to work with the City of Dawson around that financial sustainability provision,” he said in the legislature Monday.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at


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

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read