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On February 22nd the City of Ottawa’s Water and Wastewater Operating Budgets will go before City Council. The budgets include rate increases to the water and sewer bill, and there is opposition to them.
The infrastructure improvements outlined in the budgets are important to your health as well as the health of our local rivers and streams.
Please contact your city councillor. Ask them to support the 2012 Water and Wastewater infrastructure budget. Tell them you want a sewage-free river.
Our city currently maintains two water purification plants, one very large sewage treatment plant and over 8,000 km of pipes, all for a very important purpose: to deliver clean water to your homes and remove wastewater and storm water from your property. I can’t think of a better deal: the city delivers unlimited quantities of safe, clean drinking water to our homes, we can do whatever we want with that water – including pollute it – then the City, via the sewage system, takes all the wastewater away. And all for the ridiculously low price of $1.74 per day for an average water user.
Even with the suggested rate hikes, that amount will grow by mere pocket change per day. Next year you’ll pay $1.84/day, and by 2021 you may pay $2.86/day. May, because future rates are uncertain. City Council approves budgets annually, and the cost of maintaining our water and wastewater infrastructure can change. New regulations come into force, unforeseen problems arise that require repairs, and our political leaders bow to pressure to reduce rates, despite the recommendations of city staff.
In 2006, the City spilled 1.2 billion litres of untreated sewage into the Ottawa River, an incident tied to aging infrastructure. The pollution from that spill closed local beaches for almost a month and was a public health concern. Beneath our streets, untreated sewage continues to leak from broken and corroded pipes into our groundwater, and untreated sewage spills into the Ottawa River every time we get a moderate rainfall.
We drink the water from the Ottawa River. We swim, boat and fish on the rivers that run through our city. Please contact your city councillor and ask them to support the proposed 2012 water and sewer rates.
It is time to be frank about the investments that are required to protect public health and protect the rivers that are the jewels of our city.
Every Drop Costs
If every bit of pocket change is a vital part of your monthly budget, consider water conservation measures to reduce your water usage and hence reduce your monthly water and sewer expenses. Here are some links that may help.