Problems persist at Dawson sewage plant

Residents of Dawson City are still waiting on a wastewater treatment plant that works the way it is supposed to. The new facility began operations in the fall of 2012, and the plan was to hand over the plan to the town a year later.

Residents of Dawson City are still waiting on a wastewater treatment plant that works the way it is supposed to.

The new facility began operations in the fall of 2012, and the plan was to hand over the plan to the town a year later.

But the contractor, Corix, continues to manage operations because it has yet to deliver on the conditions of the contract.

Klondike MLA Sandy Silver asked the government last week to explain the ongoing issues.

“The City of Dawson is well within its rights of refusing to take over the responsibility for this facility and the government is currently left indefinitely holding the bag,” said Silver.

“Can the minister explain why the plant isn’t working? Is it a mechanical problem, for example, or a design flaw or some unanticipated reason like higher-than-anticipated mineralization of the water?”

Community Services Minister Brad Cathers gave no details as to the source of the ongoing problems, but said the Yukon government is working with the town to hold to contractor to account.

“We are committed to continuing to do our utmost to holding Corix, the contractor, to the terms of their contract and ensuring that they do what they committed to in that contract, which is deliver a plant that meets the terms of the contract and meets the needs of the City of Dawson.”

Cathers also said that the design of the plant came about because Dawson residents voted against a traditional sewage lagoon.

“A mechanical treatment plant was not the government of Yukon’s preference or the City of Dawson’s preference. As a result of the decision by the citizens of Dawson – their request, as stated through a plebiscite, that objected to located a conventional sewage lagoon as a treatment option, we then had to go to Plan B to respect the wishes of the citizens of Dawson. Mechanical treatment plants are more complex. They have more issues in commissioning than a sewage lagoon, but we are respecting what the citizens of Dawson asked us and the town of the City of Dawson to do.”

The next day Silver presented a motion to the legislative assembly calling on the government to stop blaming the residents of Dawson for the design choice, admit that it had the final say on the plant’s design, and focus its energy on ensuring the proper operation of the facility.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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