As with most urban cities, Ottawa was built before segregated sewer systems. This means that in the downtown core the grey water created by homes and businesses, mixes with the run off from roads and sidewalks. Therefore every time it rains the volume of water needing to be processed increases to an amount that our sewer treatment plant can’t handle, and they dump the overflow into the Ottawa River.
This dumping of untreated sewage leads to beach closures and e.coli break outs. Ecology Ottawa started a petition to stop the dumping of untreated sewage. We knocked on thousands of doors, collected over 12,000 signatures, and in the end was part of the reason why the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government helped the City of Ottawa fund their Ottawa River Action Plan. Read more about the City of Ottawa’s ORAP plans and accomplishments visit.
Read below or download a PDF background document on the issue here.