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City develops plan to track and correct sewage spills

In the aftermath of the discovery of sewer cross-connections in Hamilton, Public Works staff have moved quickly to comply with Environment Ministry orders to remedy the situation. Staff have developed a plan that will see more than 600 sewer inspections carried out by the end of April. More than 400 inspections have been completed to date. The plan also calls for a process to identify spills and other unauthorized discharges by the end of June.

Staff have also developed a communication plan that will have three levels of notification depending on the volume of discharge and the number of residences connected to the system.

The enhanced surveillance was ordered after the discovery of two cross connections in November and earlier this year. The November incident was in the Burlington and Westworth area and resulted in an estimated spill of 337 million litres of sewage discharged into the bay over a period of 26 years. Then, on January 9 an improper connection was detected at Rutherford Avenue and Myrtle Avenue, resulting in a spill of 59 million litres over the 26 years when the improper connections were apparently made. For perspective, in the past year, sewer bypass events caused by heavy storms resulted in the discharge of nearly 1.8 billion litres of untreated sewage to the bay. These discharges occur at outfall pipes located at the foot of Wentworth, Burch, Ottawa and Kenilworth Streets.

Historic Sewage Spills in Hamilton
ItemVolume of spill (Millions of Litres)
Nov 2022 Wentworth and Burlington Sts337
January 2023 Rutherford and Myrtle Aves59
Feb 22-Jan 2023 Storm Bypass incidents1,790

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