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Over 15 million litres of sewage spills into river

Heavy downpours Wednesday and Thursday resulted in high volumes of diluted sewage spilling into the Ottawa River.

The City of Ottawa reports 15.3 million litres of sewage went into the river because the combined sewers overflowed.

Combined sewers hold both storm water and sewage. When there's a lot of rain in a short period of time, the sewers fill beyond capacity and the guck runs into the river.

It was the third combined sewer overflow in 2012 attributed to rainfall.

The city has made strides in recent years upgrading sewer infrastructure to limit the number of spills and the volume. Environment Canada's weather tracker at the Ottawa airport measured 16 mm of rain that fell Wednesday.

The city says the combined sewer overflows don't affect drinking water.

The city is currently celebrating "drinking water week."

-- Jon Willing

Can you imagine!! They write in this article that the sewage does not effect drinking water?!! No-swim advisories were issued 127 times, which equals 39% of the time. (see the article below)

You can't swim in it but it's OK to drink it? Can you believe this? Every town and village down river like Rockland Ontario is getting all this sewage in their drinking water. In the last two years they dumped a combined 1,524 million litres of sewage into the river.

For Ottawa beach lovers, this summer has been for the birds.

Beach closures and no-swim advisories spiked in the summer of 2011 because, a city public health official said, of bird feces.

Raw sewage spilling into the Ottawa River thanks to a good rainfall is no secret, but Martha Robinson said that's only part of the reason for beaches being closed almost 40% of the time this year.

“Britannia Beach and Mooney's Bay, usually the cleanest beaches to swim at, saw more than triple the number of no-swim advisories this year than usual,” Robinson said in an email. “City staff suspect that the warm water temperatures and increasing number of birds at the beaches are a big part of the reason for high bacteria counts in the water.”

Robinson said water testing outside of the swimming areas have not found significant pollution that would impact the beach areas.

The official beach season began on June 18. That means that as of Sunday they've been open for 65 days. Multiply the 65 days by five city beaches and you get 325 total beach days.

Between all five, no-swim advisories were issued 127 times, which equals 39% of the time.

That far surpasses 2010, when advisories were issued just 49 times.

“Gulls, Canada geese and ducks are attracted to the beaches because they're a safe place from their natural predators, and often food is readily available in the form of leftover food, garbage and sometimes feeding by the public.”


Twitter: @ottawasuntaylor

No-swim advisories at city beaches in 2011:
Month Days
June 30
July 51
August 46
Total no-swim advisories, 2011 127(39%)
Beach Days
Britannia 18
Mooney's Bay 26
Westboro 27
Petrie Island River Beaches 34
Petrie Island East Bay 34
Total no-swim advisories, 2010 49 (15%)

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