12/03/2016 13:40 EST | Updated 12/04/2017 00:12 EST

Concerned for trespassers, Yukon Energy installs warning alarm

Yukon Energy is hoping a new warning at its hydroelectric dam in Whitehorse will be heard loud and clear.

After seeing a few trespassers caught in rising water while trying their hand at fishing near the dam's fish ladder or writing graffiti on its concrete, the company is installing a new alarm.

Guy Morgan, Yukon Energy's director of operations, says the idea came out of a safety review of the dam site, which is done every five years. 

"Over the years we've had some incidents where people get too close to the site. They've walked across the weir and then we start to spill. We've had to do a mini rescue and stop spilling the water."

The new alarm sounds at about 110 decibels, roughly the volume of a live rock band or a jackhammer.

It plays a repeating sliding tone — like a siren — for 30 seconds before the dam's gates rise. This is a warning sign for people who may be on the dam site, because just after the gates rise, water levels rise as well and cover the weir. 

The alarm can also be heard downstream at Centennial Bridge, where kayakers often train in the summer, and where the rising water level is also noticeable.

"It does enhance safety on the Yukon River and our facility," Morgan said.