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The province’s environment commissioner is ordering the City of Ottawa to change the way it handles overflow sewage that spills into the Ottawa River.
So far, more than one billion litres of sewage has spilled into the Ottawa River this year.
A report issued by Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller says the city must move forward with one of three options to help fix the problem.* The first option would allow sewage to continue to be discharged into the Ottawa River; however, the overflow would meet the policy set out by Ontario’s environment ministry. * The second option would involve building bigger storage tanks. The commissioner says this would prevent combined sewage overflow from spilling into the Ottawa River in a normal rainfall year. * The third option is a financial heavyweight that would involve building separate sanitary and storm water sewer systems.
Miller says the city must also examine technologies and techniques to improve the way it manages storm water.
He says while solutions to stop sewage from spilling into the Ottawa River may be expensive, “they seem obvious.” The city currently has a $139-million fund to put towards a solution.
Four public meetings will be held over the next week to help city officials determine how the city should move forward with protecting the Ottawa River.