Old Crow seeks water plant operators

Seven months after the opening of a $5-million water treatment plant, Old Crow residents have yet to see an improvement in their drinking water quality.

Seven months after the opening of a $5-million water treatment plant, Old Crow residents have yet to see an improvement in their drinking water quality.

That’s because there’s no one in the community certified to use some of the specialized equipment in the new facility.

The water continues to be treated by chlorination, as it had been before.

But extra filters that would improve the look and taste of the water are being bypassed, said Dwayne Muckosky with Community Services.

“The water is very safe for consumption. It’s being chlorinated, and it does meet the Canadian drinking water quality guidelines.”

The new treatment plant was jointly funded by the federal and territorial governments as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

The governments contributed $10.6 million to upgrades to drinking water facilities between 2007 and 2013.

Half of those funds went to the new water treatment facility in Old Crow.

The Yukon government owns the plant, and the Department of Community Services is responsible for its operation, said Muckosky.

But the department has been working closely with the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation to identify potential trainees from the community who might become certified operators, he said.

The department delivered formal training to about six Old Crow residents when the plant opened earlier this year, said Muckosky.

Over the next few weeks, the department plans to deliver additional support to trainees hoping to achieve certification, he said.

“We would hope that within the next couple of months that we will have someone who has the opportunity to challenge and be successful with the exam, to become certified.

“We’re really hoping to train as many people as possible, to create a pool in the community, because ultimately you like to have at least two certified operators to make sure that there’s adequate coverage. Sometimes people have to go away on holidays and whatnot.”