A Tetra Tech team installed two piped water distribution systems for the White River First Nation (WRFN) community in Beaver Creek, Yukon. This infrastructure project, the largest ever completed in this small northern community, provides the people with a safe and reliable source of potable water.

The First Nation Water and Wastewater Management Strategy National Assessment had identified the White River community as high-risk because the community had no means of disinfecting its existing water systems if bacteria or viruses entered the source water or water distribution systems. Improvements were needed to reduce risk to existing wells that were constructed improperly: without sanitary seals, in pits below grade, and without properly designed well screens. The existing system’s freeze protection and mechanical systems did not comply with codes or best management practices.

The WRFN Water Project team began work in 2004. The project presented challenges that required special engineering skills because of the community’s remoteness and subarctic climate. A Tetra Tech-led multidisciplinary team and a group of Yukon contractors with northern experience delivered the water system improvements.

Work has included assessing existing water and wastewater systems, conducting a feasibility study, designing and installing the system, and creating a detailed design of proposed system upgrades. Tetra Tech has also been involved in ongoing water quality studies, post-commissioning system support, system permitting, and environmental assessments.

Recent upgrades involve adding nine recirculating service connections to residences not included in previous work and two stub connections for future services, installing chlorine analyzers and solenoid valves, replacing recirculation pumps, and insulating storage tanks.

Tetra Tech integrated WRFN’s needs and preferences into the project. For example, the project team incorporated chlorination disinfection for residual protection into the water systems—a preference noted by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada in its publication, Protocol for Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities.