Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Ottawa River Swallowed A Lot Of Filth This Year

- November 20th, 2014

So far in 2014, 546,620 cubic metres of guck have run into the river from the city’s combined sewers, according to the city’s tracking of the individual overflows.

There’s a smaller window of time that’s a “reporting period” for combined sewer overflows. It’s April 15 to Nov. 15. During that period, the city registered 533,160 cubic metres of diluted sewage (1 cubic metre = 1,000 litres) going into the river over the course of 22 “events.”

Blame it, in part, on one very wet day: June 24. That’s when 324,030 cubic metres of sewage spilled from the sewers during a downpour.

You can see the link above for the volumes the city recorded in previous years. So yeah, not a particularly good year for the river in 2014 when it comes to volume, but the number of overflow events decreased significantly.

Can’t do anything about Mother Nature.

You can, however, do something about the infrastructure and that’s where the city hopes to get the feds to contribute money to a downtown sewer tunnel. The province and city have committed funds already.

This story reminds me that the city apparently needs to hear from the feds by Dec. 1 if it wants to get the work done before the Canada 150th celebrations in 2017. Time’s ticking.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Garbage Tree At Petrie Island

- October 23rd, 2014


Orléans Coun. Bob Monette sent me this picture of him checking out a tree that fell at Petrie Island recently.

Check out the garbage hanging from the bottom.

Peculiar findings of garbage at Petrie have been documented before and it’s still shocking when the evidence of a former dump surfaces from time to time.

The dump on a portion of Petrie closed about 50 years ago.

I was talking to Monette for this election-related garbage story and he made the point about how important it is that the city avoids opening a new landfill. “Just because you cover the garbage doesn’t mean it goes away,” he said.

There’s your proof.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Morning Twitter Snark

- October 20th, 2014

A bit of morning snark for you to start your week.

Apparently a remark Kitchissippi incumbent Katherine Hobbs made about being disappointed in the environment committee has been eating at her colleague, Rideau-Goulbourn incumbent Scott Moffatt.

Moffatt, if you didn’t already know, is the vice-chairman of the environment committee.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

One Mammoth Sewage Overflow

- July 2nd, 2014

I’m trying to catch up on various pieces of news over the past week and was reminded of that massive downpour we had on June 24 (Jazzfest visitors will remember). I don’t think the rain stopped downtown all day. I marked down a reminder to check the volume of combined sewer overflow that ran into the Ottawa River.

Grand total?

More than 324 million litres, according to the city’s records.

Environment Canada recorded about 70 mm of rain that fell at the Central Experimental Farm.

It’s the largest overflow in one single day since at least since 2011. If you take a look at the annual volumes during the April-November reporting period, those six-month totals are well below what was recorded on June 24.

Another illustration of why the city wants to build that $195-million sewage-intercepting tunnel, the cornerstone of the Ottawa River Action Plan.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Winter Rain Does A Number On The Ottawa River

- February 24th, 2014

I stopped writing about every combined sewer overflow some time ago because it happens rather frequently, as you can see.

But since it’s a new year and the topic has been in the news, I thought I would highlight the most recent entry in that list. Rain last Friday caused more than 13 cubic metres of sewage to spill from the sewers into the Ottawa River (1 m3 = 1,000 litres).

Winter rain can test the combined sewers since they’re swallowing rainfall and snowmelt, and we have had plenty of snow this season.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at