Author: June 2009 (revised July 2009) Researched and written by Ecojustice Senior Scientist Dr. Elaine MacDonald and Staff Scientist Liat Podolsky with assistance from Communications Director Jode Roberts and Acting Communications Director Kori Brus.
Findings of Investigation
According to information obtained from the province of Ontario there are 107 combined sewer systems in eighty-nine different Ontario communities. In 2006 and 2007 there were 1,544 and 1,243 releases of raw or partially treated sewage reported to the provincial government respectively, although this information does not include all of the sewage treatment plants in Ontario.3
Of the incidents reported (see Table 1 below), we broke the data down according to ones reported to be caused by wet weather as well as incidents that included CSOs and bypasses.
A review of the reports indicates that if a sewage collection system is overflowing at several locations, each location may be counted as a separate incident. In most cases the duration of the bypass or overflow was unknown, but for the incidents in which the duration was provided, they varied from less than one hour to several days. The average length of incidents that were recorded was seven hours in 2007.
Sewage releases 2006 – 2007
Total reported sewage releases 1,544 1,243
Total releases reported to be due to wet weather 1,256 849
Releases reported to include combined sewer overflows 376 701
Releases that included bypasses 1,061 1,089