Whitehorse pumping treated wastewater into Yukon River

Whitehorse has 7 million cubic metres of treated wastewater that it needs to get rid of this year. Normally it would pump this water into a storage pond, like Pothole Lake.

Whitehorse has 7 million cubic metres of treated wastewater that it needs to get rid of this year.

Normally it would pump this water into a storage pond, like Pothole Lake.

But the lake is full, and that means that 7 billion litres of water need to be pumped into the Yukon River.

The city has already released treated wastewater into the river.

A new pipeline to the river was completed on October 20 and the city used it to discharge water until October 31.

That was when their water licence ended.

Whitehorse has been licensed to dump its treated water into the Yukon since 1993, but hasn’t had to do so until now.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board recently permitted the city to continue discharging the water between September 1 and December 15.

But the city now has to get the application past the Yukon Territory Water Board.

“This isn’t a criticism of either the city or the YESAB decision,” said Yukon Conservation Society executive director Karen Baltgailis.

“I guess it’s more a look at what our lifestyle is like and why we have to do this.”

The reason they have to do this is that Pothole Lake is full.

The lake is where the city has been diverting its treated water for the past 14 years.

The water used to trickle down, filtering through the earth and eventually reaching the Yukon River.

Recently, the water hasn’t been filtering through as quick as before and more cloudy days have cut down on evaporation.

The water has been adding up and the lake is now full, forcing the city to divert it to the river.

“And nobody’s tested for what else could be in that water,” said Baltgailis.

“The water could still contain things like pharmaceuticals, cleaning products and cosmetics that people have flushed down the drains.

“Basically what we’re saying is that there are a lot of reasons to moderate our water use.”

The society would like people to be more conscientious about how much water they use and perhaps cut back on long, daily showers and frequent toilet flushing.

They would also like to see water meters installed in the city, in the hope that this would help people cut back.

“We need to do this partly because we don’t want to directly discharge water into the Yukon River,” said Baltgailis.

“But it also takes energy to pump the water, so it’s an energy saving thing as well.”

Contact Chris Oke at chriso@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

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