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Ontario launches storm, wastewater consultation with new $25M boost for reporting, infrastructure

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Ontario’s latest public consultation and discussion paper will look for feedback from Ontarians about ideas and solutions for improving the management of municipal wastewater and stormwater management in the province at places such as the Cataraqui Bay Wastewater Treatment Facility, pictured, near Kingston. Photo Credit: Utilities Kingston

Ontario is investing $15 million to help 18 municipalities optimize stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, plus another $10 million to upgrade sewage monitoring and public reporting capacity, all while launching a new public consultation.

Eligible municipalities, including places like Toronto, Peterborough, Hamilton, Napanee, Niagara, and Kingston, can use the new funding to build stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, upgrade sewers and pumping stations, or clean out debris from stormwater management ponds, the province announced.

“Investing in these projects will help manage stormwater runoff, sewage overflows, and reduce contaminants from entering our waterways,” announced Kinga Surma, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure, in a statement. “It’s one of the many ways our government is providing greater environmental protection, while building cleaner, more sustainable infrastructure,” she added.

The new funding to improve monitoring and public reporting capacity of sewage overflows and bypasses will go to those municipalities that had the largest average yearly volume of combined sewage overflows across the province from 2015 to 2019 as reported through the federal Wastewater System Effluent Regulation. Included are municipalities such as London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Parry Sound and Hamilton.

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“This is very welcome news for the Hamilton area and demonstrates our government’s commitment to protecting Ontario’s Great Lakes, local waterways, and communities from pollution and toxic overflows,” announced Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook. “Funding for the City of Hamilton, coupled with a strong proposal for monitoring and reporting of sewage overflows will support the improved municipal management of storm and wastewater our community deserves,” Skelly added.

The full list of other municipalities eligible for the infrastructure funding includes: City of Belleville; Town of Cobourg; Regional Municipality of Durham; Regional Municipality of Halton; City of Kawartha Lakes; Loyalist Township; Town of Orangeville; Regional Municipality of Peel; Municipality of Port Hope; Prince Edward County; City of Quinte West; and the Regional Municipality of York.

Ontario’s latest public consultation and discussion paper will look for feedback from Ontarians about ideas and solutions for improving the management of municipal wastewater and stormwater management in the province. The discussion paper aims to spark action around an array of issues, such as the management of hauled sewage from private septic systems; improving public access to data on wastewater and stormwater discharge; and changing the way stormwater is managed in urban areas.

The province is also seeking input on a proposed sub-watershed planning guide to help municipalities and other planning authorities with land use and infrastructure planning.

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