Tuesday , 31 January 2023
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City estimates Rutherford Avenue sewage spill to be approximately 59 million litres over 26 years

Hamilton Water estimates that approximately 59 million litres of sanitary sewage discharged into the Hamilton Harbour over a duration of 26 years from a spill that involved 11 properties on Rutherford Avenue. The spill was confirmed on Monday with repairs being completed on Wednesday. The spill was identified as part of a proactive risk-based inspection pilot program initiated by the City as a key outcome from the Burlington Street spill in November 2022. This pilot program is still underway.

City staff developed this estimate based on the water meter usage data from the 11 properties connected to the combined sewer pipe. Similar to the calculation for the spill that occurred on Burlington Street, there were several ways City staff could calculate the overall estimated volume of wastewater discharged into the Hamilton Harbour, but this methodology was identified as the

All sewage is now flowing into the Myrtle Avenue combined sewer and all appropriate blocking of the storm sewer has been completed.

The Burlington Street spill send over 300 million litres of sewage into the bay, the higher volume due to 50 homes being involved.

To place these spills into perspective, Hamilton discharged over 4 Billion litres of sewage into the Harbour in 2021 as a result of that year’s storm events overwhelming the system.

The City launched a risk-based proactive inspection program on December 3, 2022 as a result of the Burlington Street spill on November 22, 2022, in which City staff uncovered through an investigation of a separate maintenance issue, a hole in a combined sewer pipe, spilling into a large storm sewer that was discharging into Hamilton Harbour. The risk-based inspection program is currently being run as a pilot and lessons learned will be used to improve the program in the future, and to make recommendations for resource requirements to City Council.          The first priority of the pilot is looking at the older areas of the City, specifically the combined sewers in the areas where there are overflows to the Wentworth St, Birch/Sherman, Ottawa and Kenilworth combined sewer overflow outfalls.

Commented Mayor Horwath, “As Mayor, I am deeply concerned anytime we find a sewer leak going into Hamilton Harbour. Learning from the discovery of November’s leak, we are proactively looking for these misconnections in our aging sewer system, and we will continue this work going forward.”

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