Oil tank farm not fit for residents

There won't be any residential development at the former petroleum tank farm on Hamilton Boulevard. Yukon Pipeline Ltd. has decided to abandon plans to restore the site for a residential subdivision.

There won’t be any residential development at the former petroleum tank farm on Hamilton Boulevard.

Yukon Pipeline Ltd. has decided to abandon plans to restore the site for a residential subdivision.

Instead, it has opted to bring it to a less stringent industrial standard.

And, with that decision, its cleanup efforts are now almost complete.

The Calgary-based National Energy Board delivered its final conditions for the pipeline remediation work this week.

Yukon Pipeline Limited pumped oil from Skagway to Whitehorse through a 144-kilometre-long pipeline for nearly 50 years, after buying the pipeline from the US military.

Since the pipeline’s closing in 1996, the company has spent more than a decade cleaning it up. It’s dismantled most of the 114.7-millimetre pipeline, dug up 750 cubic metres of contaminated soil, treated 1,500 cubic metres of soil on the 56-hectare Hamilton Boulevard site, and performed continuous soil and groundwater testing.

The pipeline’s Carcross pump station and Whitehorse oil tank farm have also been torn down.

Now the company’s last job is to continue soil testing on both sites until the land is clean.

But it’s not likely the Whitehorse site will ever be clean enough to build houses on.

The tank farm, sandwiched between Hillcrest and Valleyview subdivisions, across from the Whitehorse airport, will no longer be restored well enough for residential zoning, as originally intended.

With Whitehorse short of residential land, developers had wanted to turn the area into a 350- to 500-lot subdivision.

But the National Energy Board’s new set of conditions, released Wednesday, effectively puts an end to that option.

Soil vapours from decades of spilled oil and gas on the site was still a concern, making homes impossible.

Now the property will only meet an industrial zoning standard.

Yukon Pipeline Limited, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of White Pass and Yukon Company Limited, made the decision to lower their cleanup standards to industrial zoning.

The company was not available for comment before press time.

The tank farm once held 24 steel oil tanks that could each hold up to 1,600 cubic metres of petroleum. All structures have been removed and sections of the ground have been treated for spilled hydrocarbons.

The site is above the Yukon River, which still worries the regulator.

Groundwater from the tank farm flows into Baxter’s Gulch, a cavity in the Whitehorse cliffs off the Alaska Highway abutting the airport. The water then flows into Spook Creek and, finally, into the Yukon River.

Yukon Pipeline Ltd. will have to continue soil testing until the downstream water is clean for two straight years.

Groundwater on the tank farm site is not potable, the National Energy Board noted.

Once the final tank farm testing is done, as well as further testing at the Carcross pump station site, the board is off the hook for any future regulation and land management becomes a local responsibility.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com.

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

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP are making an appeal for information in the case of Mary Ann Ollie, who was murdered in Ross River last year and whose case remains unsolved. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

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

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

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

Most Read