The Government of Yukon has engaged the City of Dawson on the future of its wastewater treatment plant. This follows a tumultuous development process for the city’s treatment plant.
The lifecycle of the current plant has been severely limited by rising costs and performance issues. The territorial government is supporting Dawson to begin planning a new wastewater treatment option, which will be operational by 2026 or earlier.
“This plant has been a costly endeavour for Dawson City and Yukon,” said Yukon’s Minister of Community Services John Streicker. “It has never operated the way it was intended to, and as Dawson grows the challenges of maintaining the facility will become even more difficult.”
It costs the Government of Yukon and City of Dawson approximately $950,000 annually to operate the plant. This cost is significantly higher than anticipated and is higher than any other community in Yukon, including the City of Whitehorse. Costs are expected to rise as the plant ages and requires additional maintenance and equipment replacement.
After a great deal of effort over several years, the wastewater treatment plant is now marginally capable of meeting effluent discharge standards under normal operating conditions. As Dawson grows, the challenges of sustaining this facility will become more difficult.
The Government of Yukon will actively support the City of Dawson in the planning of a new wastewater treatment option and will help secure appropriate infrastructure funding for a wastewater treatment facility.
“We are committed to working with the City of Dawson to develop a sustainable wastewater treatment option,” said Streicker.
Construction of the Dawson City wastewater treatment plant was substantially completed in 2012. Corix Water Systems Inc., the company contracted to build the plant, began operating the plant in 2013.
Corix continued to operate the plant, under contract, until February 2017 when Community Services took over operations and maintenance. Originally, the plant was to be operated and maintained by the City of Dawson, but in 2015 it asked the Government of Yukon to manage the plant until it was fully functional and financially sustainable.
From the outset, the plant struggled to meet the requirements of its water licence. As a result of changes in the plant design implemented after negotiations with Corix and its subcontractors (mostly at their cost), the plant is now in compliance.