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New wastewater spreadsheets added to Canada’s open-data website

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Canada’s wastewater data is finally wading further into the realm of transparency thanks to Environment Canada’s latest additions to the federal Open Data website.

The federal government recently released the data under the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (WSER) to show when and where sewage is released, and whether wastewater treatment facilities are meeting regulations as they relate to the Fisheries Act.

The inclusion of free, on-demand access to machine-readable data files for sewage pollution nationwide includes spreadsheet reports for a variety of datasets. The WSER data covers 2013 to 2018 with datasets about wastewater treatment types and discharge point locations, concentrations of carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demanding matter and suspended solids, acute lethality test results, and volumes of effluent discharged from the final discharge point and from combined sewer overflow points. 

Wastewater Data Highlights 

Data posted to the Open Data website last month shows that more than 190 billion litres of untreated wastewater flowed through municipal pipes carrying both sewage and stormwater in 2018.

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Additionally, between 2015 to 2018, municipal systems exceeded a standard for dissolved oxygen 1,815 times and a standard for dissolved solids 2,338 times.

Port Alberni, B.C., came up with the worst record in terms of venting untreated sewage to prevent backups and floods when storms overwhelm systems. The municipality pumped out nearly 47 billion litres.

Additional information about wastewater bilateral agreements, authorizations and resource documents, as well as contacts, can be found here on the Open Data site.

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