ARCHIVED - Safe Water Is Life - Anthony Peter, Water Operator, Ross River Dena Council

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Ross River, in eastern central Yukon, is part of the homeland of the Kaska people. To enhance safe drinking water for community members, the water operator for the Ross River Dena Council provides a free cleaning and disinfection service for all community potable water tanks.

Anthony Peter:

My name is Anthony Peter. I have been living in Ross River for most of my life. I have three young boys they are still growing, so it is important that they have clean drinking water, for sure.


Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has supplied most of the First Nations with portable trailers with the equipment needed to clean water tanks for community members.

Anthony Peter:

It has its own water tank, all the tools and equipment that we use to clean the tank.

Since there is so much water in the tank we have to use our sump pump to pump the water from the inside of the tank out. We are not going to put it in their septic system.

When we get the chemical mixed inside the high pressure thing here, we are ready to use the Floran and the catalyst here to let that activate and clean the inside of the tank.

Anthony Peter:

I've seen a lot of grungy tanks…one tank that stood out in my mind was an Elder's tank. He was complaining about a smell coming from the taps. You know, every time he took a bath or washed his dishes and stuff, it would stink for him. When we cleaned his tank, we found algae growing in his tank. To see that we felt good cleaning that tank for sure. He was pretty happy with us - he was happy this year, too, to see us come back.

 I have to turn the generator on, use the pressure washer to rinse all that out, and then use a wet and dry vac to suck all that out.

This is just to knock down all the residual of the Floran chemical we just used. So there will be no chemical left in the tank after we rinse this, suck it out and then we'll sterilize it.

This is hypochlorite and it is like a sterilizing agent I guess - and that will sterilize the tank. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then we'll rinse it off.

Always communicating with the homeowner, communicating with the water truck operator and communicating with ourselves, like there is usually two or three of us that work together on any given, you know, tank. So communication is pretty important.


Water tank cleaning is a free service most Yukon Region First Nations offer to their members.  Your water tank should be cleaned and disinfected every summer. Please contact your First Nation government office to book an appointment.

Jason smith, water truck operator:

People are very happy after we've, you know, come to their home and cleaned out their system – very happy.

Every time we walk away from a messy scene or a messy tank that is real bad, there is just that personal feeling that you get. It is a really self-satisfying feeling, yeah that's…'s pretty powerful.

Tootsie Charlie, Kaska Elder:

(translated from Kaska) This water is safe to drink because we keep our tanks clean. People come around, they clean our tank for us and it's safe to drink for us and the family.


For more information, contact your local First Nation government or Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada in Whitehorse – on the web at or call toll-free: 1-800-661-0451

A production of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada



Werner Walcher

Fresh From The Yukon Inc.


Christine Genier

Thanks to

Anthony Peter, Tootsie Charlie, Jason Smith and the Ross River Dena Council

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada represented by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada 2013