Cleaning the Ottawa River

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The $250 million dollar Ottawa River Action Plan aimed at reducing combined sewer overflows into the Ottawa River has paid immediate dividends for the City of Ottawa and residents of Orléans and Cumberland by cutting discharges by more than half compared to measurements of four years ago.

“Orléans and Cumberland residents told me loud and clear during the election they want the Nation’s Capital to be a world leader in the controlling sewer discharge into our river,” said Councillor Stephen Blais, Councillor for Cumberland Ward. “Our neighbours want a clean river and this is the way to reach our goal of reducing these runoffs and eventually eliminating them.”

An analysis reported to City Council today shows a Real Time Control system has already significantly increased the volume of combined wastewater (sewage and stormwater) captured and re-directed to the City’s wastewater treatment plant.

This phase of the project cost the combined municipal, federal and provincial governments $100 million.

“This shows that working in cooperation with our federal and provincial partners, the City has made real progress, significantly reducing overflows into the Ottawa River,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.”My hope is that the two senior levels of government will continue to be a positive partner with the City as we look to ways to eliminate all overflows into the river.”

The system continuously monitors the flow of stormwater and wastewater by means of remote activation of specialized equipment installed in the city’s sewer system that makes maximum use of space in our piped infrastructure

The comprehensive multi-year Ottawa River Action Plan will reduce both the frequency and volume of combined sewage overflows. In pursuit of this goal, ongoing combined sewer separation is continuing and advanced planning for the construction of major combined sewage overflow storage facilities are underway.

It is important to note that all combined sewer overflows are located downstream of the City’s drinking water production plants and as such do not affect drinking water quality.