News Briefs: Ottawa's New Sewage Tunnel Overwhelmed by Storm

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the Department of the Interior announces $50 million in funding to improve water infrastructure and enhance drought-related data collection across the Upper Colorado River Basin

News Briefs: Ottawa's New Sewage Tunnel Overwhelmed by Storm

Ottawa, Ontario's state-of-the-art combined sewage storage tunnel — costing $232 million and commissioned in 2020 — was unable to cope with a recent severe thunderstorm. 

The tunnel, designed to hold up to 43 million liters of contaminated rainwater for treatment prior to discharge into the Ottawa River, was overwhelmed, resulting in the release of 316 million liters of polluted water directly into the river.

Despite the tunnel's success in significantly curbing untreated effluent discharge into the Ottawa River over the past three years, the recent storm's intensity exceeded its capacity, Marilyn Journeaux, director of water services at the City of Ottawa, told Postmedia News. This event was the largest overflow since the tunnel's inception, leading to swim advisories at local beaches due to elevated E. coli counts.

California Company Sentenced for Illegally Discharging Waste Into Public Treatment System

A California company operating a facility in Olive Branch, Mississippi, was ordered to pay almost $5 million for discharging wastewater into a publicly owned treatment works without a valid state permit.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock sentenced View Inc. to three years probation and imposed a fine of $3 million. Additionally, the company has been directed to contribute $450,000 to DeSoto County Regional Utility Authority for wastewater treatment expansion. In relation to the case, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has further assessed a civil penalty of $1.5 million against the company.

“When companies place profit and convenience above public safety, we will do all we can to punish that behavior and protect the public,” says U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner. “This illegal discharge of wastewater into the public treatment facility demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety and wellbeing of citizens in our District and we applaud the stiff fines imposed by the court in this case.”

Funding Announced to Enhance Water Infrastructure in Colorado River Basin

The Department of the Interior has announced $50 million in funding over the next five years to improve key water infrastructure and enhance drought-related data collection across the Upper Colorado River Basin. 

The Bureau of Reclamation is making an initial $8.7 million investment in fiscal year 2023 to support drought mitigation efforts in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming that aim to help ensure compliance with interstate water compact obligations, maintain the ability to generate hydropower at Glen Canyon Dam, and minimize adverse effects to resources and infrastructure in the Upper Basin.


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