Cleaning up our dirty water - SCO's deputation on City's proposed solution
As many Torontonians know, when there is heavy rain or a big snow melt, the sewers overflow and dump untreated sewage into the Don River and waterfront. The reason is becasue of our combined sewage system - our sanitary and storm sewers are connected, whereas in newer municipalities, they are separate.
This regular dump of pollution has made Toronto harbour one of 43 polluted Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin. To address this critical water quality issue, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment began a Class A Environmental Assessment in 2008. Over the past three years, the study has recommended solutions to address the problem of stormwater and combined sewer overflow discharges.
The favoured solution on the table now, is building large underground storage tanks connected by tunnels along the shoreline to capture the overflowing, untreated sewage water. This water would then be treated - only at a "basic" level - and then released into the Great Lakes Basin.
Instead of this solution, Sierra Club, proposes a greener, sustainable approach which would disconnect road sewers from the sanitary sewers, diverting sewage to the treatment plant and stormwater toward above-ground, less expensive and more attractive facilities.