Whitehorse Daily Star

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Peter O’Blenes

Sewer system leak fix could cost $850,000

It’s expected to cost at least $850,000 to fix a leak in the city’s sewer system.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 6, 2018

It’s expected to cost at least $850,000 to fix a leak in the city’s sewer system.

It’s a problem city officials say has to be fixed as soon as possible, with council set to vote on whether to approve the spending for it next week.

The leak is at a valve chamber to part of the system that serves the Porter Creek and Whistle Bend neighbourhoods.

Peter O’Blenes is the city’s director of infrastructure and operations. He brought forward the recommendation to approve the funding at Monday’s council meeting.

O’Blenes noted the leak, next to the south side of the Yukon River, had been discovered late last year as part of the regular checks city staff conduct on the system.

Since then, the system has been operating on a backup pipe.

“The presence of a leak on the Porter Creek Flush Tank System constitutes a bona-fide emergency because of risk to public health, city property, private property, and the environment,” O’Blenes said.

“To ensure that the risks may be addressed as quickly and effectively as possible, emergency funding and a new 2017 capital project was approved by council to retain an engineering consultant to assess the site and develop a repair plan, conceptual design and construction cost estimate.”

Morrison Hershfield finished its report in mid-January.

It recommended “an open cut excavation, removal and environmental remediation of contaminated material, pipe repair of both the parallel force main pipes using flexible expansion joints, and backfill and site restoration.”

A rehabilitation plan has already been approved as administration has worked with the territory and Environment Canada and will continue to do so as the efforts move along.

“The project is urgent because of the significant environmental risk of operating without a redundant backup on this system,” O’Blenes stated in the report to council.

“To make the repair within the 2018 construction season, approval is needed now because we are on the critical path to complete detailed design and tender construction in time to avoid doing the work after freeze-up in the fall 2018.”

Under questioning by council, O’Blenes made it clear that $850,000 is an estimate, and the full costs won’t be known until work begins and excavation is done.

It’s at that point the city will know what direction the plume is moving in. If it’s moving toward the Yukon River, more work will likely be required.

Council will vote on whether to approve the budget change – with the funds set to come out of the city’s sewer and water reserves – next week.

Councillors Samson Hartland and Rob Fendrick were absent from last night’s meeting.

Comments (6)

Up 1 Down 0

Taxpayer on Feb 10, 2018 at 12:49 pm

So about 2.2 million by the time it's all said and done.

Up 4 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Feb 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm

It's everywhere jc including private industry. Not that I promote unsafe work or harming the environment but the safety and enviro components of any project big or small, private or public, have turned into a growing gravy train and nobody can stop it. Just the way it is sadly.

Up 3 Down 0

More and more evidence of poor political management of our City infrastructure on Feb 7, 2018 at 7:41 am

Don't care. Tax payers money. Wilf Carter

Up 6 Down 0

My Opinion on Feb 6, 2018 at 11:27 pm

So I guess raises for Mayor and Council are out of the question....Right.

Up 4 Down 0

jc on Feb 6, 2018 at 8:50 pm

$850,000? Ridiculous! When governments are involved, prices get pretty high. Wonder what they pay for toilet seats.

Up 3 Down 0

Nikita Koloff on Feb 6, 2018 at 8:28 pm

I’d love to be part of council and not go to a single meeting ever. Kind of like Fendrick......wonder what he gets paid to not go to work.

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