Fuel Tanks and Drinking Water

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storm sewer

Reduce Risks to Our Drinking Water

All our drinking water comes from the high quality aquifer below the Riverdale neighbourhood. Being underground, it's less likely to be contaminated than surface water sources. However, surface activities from households can harm our drinking water, as well as enter the Yukon River through the storm sewer system.

Here's how you can help protect our drinking water and our environment.

Limit fertilizers

Fertilizers on lawns often  run off into storm drains on the street and drain into the Yukon River. The chemicals in fertilizer can increase nutrient growth in the river and affect fish.Chemicals can also leach directly into the aquifer.

Consider using natural soil amendments like compost. If you decide to fertilize, use slow-releasing methods. Apply fertilizer into 4-6 inches of soil, and not on the surface of lawns.

Limit pesticides

As with fertilizers, pesticides can run off into the storm sewer and leach into the groundwater.

Dispose of household hazardous waste properly

hhwsymbolsHazardous waste should be properly stored and disposed of at HHW days. If not, waste oil, fuel and other harmful products can spill and leach into the groundwater. Make sure you store these materials in their original containers if possible; or in strong, undamaged containers with secure lids. Clearly mark the contents on the container as you will be asked about them at HHW days. Keep them safe from vandalism, floods, and risk of damage.

Buy only as much of a hazardous product as you need, or the rest will be wasted. Twice a year, the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon government will receive your household hazardous waste free of charge.

Remove underground fuel tanks

Underground storage tanks pose a high risk to groundwater. They are closer to the aquifer and leaks can develop without being noticed. Residents of Riverdale should be aware that a spill their yard could contaminate the entire drinking water aquifer. This would be a long-term, costly problem. 

Read more about removing your underground fuel tank.

Maintain your oil tank

Above ground storage tanks also pose a risk to our drinking water. If a tank is not well-maintained, leaks and spills can occur. Not only does this threaten the aquifer and the environment, clean-up can be costly and might not be covered under your insurance policy. See more information about fuel tank maintenance, or read Yukon Housing's A Guide to Home-heating Oil Tanks.