The Liard First Nation has partnered with the Yukon Research Centre and the University of Saskatchewan to test drinking water in the community.
The project arose from concerns raised by the First Nation, said Lisa Christensen with the research centre.
“There are a couple of landfill sites near the Albert Creek subdivision, and there are some concerns that leaching sites might be contaminating the wells in that area,” she said.
There are also worries related to Air Force activity in the area during World War II that could have left a mess behind, said Christensen. In 2009 the nose section of a B-52 bomber and a pile of old bombs were uncovered in Watson Lake.
Part of the project involves studying how the surface water in the area interacts with the groundwater, she said.
The researchers have also tested wells at 40 households. They are currently interpreting the results, which will be shared with residents when they are ready, said Christensen.
This week researchers are also interviewing First Nation members to learn more about their issues and values related to drinking water. The results of that survey will also be reported back to the First Nation, said Christensen.
“The main goal is to provide LFN with a good baseline of information on the state of their drinking water,”
It will also allow the First Nation to prioritize infrastructure improvements and build awareness about drinking water issues, she said.
One member of the First Nation was trained in sampling the household wells, which will allow the community to continue this work into the future.