City of Hamilton finds even more sewage has been flowing into Lake Ontario since 1996

City of Hamilton finds even more sewage has been flowing into Lake Ontario since 1996

The City of Hamilton has discovered even more sewage has been flowing directly into the Hamilton Harbor since 1996.

The news was announced Monday, seven weeks after the city said it had discovered roughly 337 million liters of sewage had spilled into the harborfront since 1996.

In 2019, it was discovered that 24 billion liters of sewage had been leaking into Chedoke Creek over four years. The city is still working on cleaning up that leak.

Nick Winters, director of Hamilton Water, told a news conference Monday that the 337-million-liter spill found in late November prompted the department to launch a risk-based inspection program that focused on cross-connected pipe sections.

Winters said there have been 151 inspections since December, and this past weekend, the team spotted a potential issue near Rutherford Avenue and Myrtle Avenue.

He said the team learned Monday that a 100-year-old combined sewer pipe was connected into a newly constructed storm sewer in 1996 — similar to the last leak.

As many as 11 residential properties have been discharging wastewater directly to the storm sewer and to Hamilton Harbour.

It’s unclear how much sewage has flowed into Lake Ontario from this pipe or how much the cleanup will cost.

Horwath says city is taking a proactive approach

Winters said a vacuum truck is on site to prevent the flow of any more wastewater.

He said he contacted the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Spills Action Center and the city’s spill reporting line early Monday afternoon.

Mayor Andrea Horwath, who was also at the news conference, told reporters the city has a “very old” combined sewer system, and emphasized it is taking a proactive approach to doing the right thing.

She also said the city may find more leaks like this, and encourages people to report to the city if they find any leaks near them or smell a septic odor.

More to come

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