As the global coronavirus pandemic grows, restrictions on movement have thrown up some awkward questions. A tricky question in Yellowknife? Where to put the poop.
The City of Yellowknife last week announced it would close the municipal dump to residents, telling them instead to rely on garbage collection, recycling, and keeping larger items at home for the time being.
However, that overlooked one pressing concern: the arrival of spring, otherwise known as the northern season of dog-poop rivers.
City trails and yards can become challenging places to step if dogs have been allowed to use the bathroom repeatedly over the cold winter months without anyone braving the weather to clean up after them.
That usually means a massive operation each spring as people bag up remaining poops or spend time on trails helping to clean them up for the good of others.
But with the city dump closed off, there was suddenly nowhere to put all of the turds – which are considered a form of hazardous waste. (Ordinarily, residents drive to the dump and throw the dog waste in special containers.)
Late last week, City Hall provided an answer.
“Until further notice, dog waste will be allowed in black carts,” the City declared in a news release.
That’s a change in the rules to accommodate these uncertain times. Normally, the City hates residents throwing dog poop in regular garbage carts as it’s “unhealthy and unpleasant for the solid waste personnel and garbage collectors,” to quote the City’s website, “and it is unacceptable to be compacted in the City’s baler.”
Garbage collectors are, in non-pandemic years, usually instructed to leave the dog waste behind.
Plugged pipes, pump-outs, and parking
Meanwhile, the City had a request related to human waste, too.
“Do not flush baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, shop towels, or other similar products,” the City implored residents.
“These types of materials, even when labelled ‘flushable’, increase sewage system blockages and potential damage to personal property – especially in Yellowknife’s cold temperatures, where we are prone to freezing.”
Water delivery and sewage pump-outs are continuing as scheduled, the City said,
Residents on trucked water and sewer service are being asked to conserve water “as much as possible.”
There’s also some good news entirely unrelated to pet or human feces.
The City says parking is now free in Yellowknife until further notice.
You can’t park outside the clinic on 48 Street as patients need those spaces, and you still can’t park on Franklin Avenue in designated areas between 3am and 9am, or 4:30pm and 6pm. Other than that, meters are no longer being checked and you can park to your heart’s content.