The City of Whitehorse is investing $5.1 million in 18 water and wastewater projects that include new watermains, improvements to the storm sewer drainage system, and an undertaking to begin removing pharmaceuticals from the city’s wastewater.
The new funding comes from Whitehorse’s portion of the Canada Community-Building Fund, formerly known as the Gas Tax Fund, to purchase equipment to upgrade services and start the new water projects for the city of only 24,000 residents.
“Upgrading our essential infrastructure and equipment is significant to delivering the important services that our growing city relies on,” announced City of Whitehorse Mayor, Laura Cabott, in a statement.
In addition to the new projects, local officials will invest $500,000 in a city-wide water and sewer study to assess the life-cycle cost for its infrastructure. A $380,000 condition assessment of utility stations and force mains will also be made to identify replacements and improvements.
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Storm sewer drainage system improvements are set to be made at Fourth Avenue and Baxter Street, and the city has purchased a new mobile steamer vehicle worth more than $483,000 to maintain the sewers during harsh winter months. Another $107,00 will go towards a water and wastewater utility truck.
The costliest upgrade at more than $848,000 is for the reconstruction of the Alaska Highway in front of Hillcrest for a new watermain at Roundel Road across the highway.
Currently, the city’s wastewater lagoon removes conventional contaminants, but not pharmaceuticals. An investment of more than $46,000 will help the facility’s management create a baseline to test non-conventional methods for their removal from treated wastewater.
Additionally, nearly $34,000 will go towards preliminary planning and assessments for wastewater treatment upgrades to the Livingston Trail Environmental Control Facility, where effluent is being sampled for pharmaceuticals and microplastics. A bench-scale test will sample the actual lagoon water.
Other investments include: more than $27,000 to refurbish booster station pumps; $600,000 for groundwater protection planning, and 10 new groundwater monitoring wells for Whitehorse; and $63,800 towards backup power generation at a small lift station to provide uninterrupted wastewater collection during power disruptions.