CBC – Avoid risk of ‘catastrophic’ tailings pond failure and install new Yellowknife River pipeline, report says.

Yellowknife council receives consultancy report recommending new pipeline over drawing water from the bay

The city must decide what to do about Yellowknife’s drinking water supply. The 49-year-old underwater pipe stretching to the Yellowknife River is leaking and has reached the end of its useful life.

According to a consultancy report commissioned by the City of Yellowknife and presented to council on Monday, the city should replace the 8.5 kilometres of aging drinking water supply pipe, instead of the alternative of drawing water directly from nearby Yellowknife Bay.

The AECOM Canada Ltd. report weighed in on two options: draw water directly from Yellowknife Bay with enhanced arsenic contamination filtering, at a lifetime cost of $18.2 million, or lay new pipe to the Yellowknife River, preserving the flow of drinking water from sources upstream of possible arsenic contamination associated with Giant Mine, at a lifetime cost of $33 million.

…Even though it will cost more to bypass safe bay water, the report leans in favour of installing a new pipeline. This is in part because, according to the report, drawing drinking water from the Yellowknife River avoids the dangerous consequences of a “catastrophic” failure of the northwest tailings pond at the former Giant Mine site.

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