353 million litres of sewage discharged into Hamilton Harbour after ‘equipment failure,’ city says

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Published October 5, 2021 at 3:27 pm

The City of Hamilton says "significant wet weather" and "equipment failure" at the Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant led to 353 million litres of partially or untreated wastewater being discharged into Hamilton Harbour over the course of two days. 

The City of Hamilton says “significant wet weather” and “equipment failure” at the Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant led to 353 million litres of partially or untreated wastewater being discharged into Hamilton Harbour over the course of two days.

It was reported by the city on Tuesday (Oct. 5) morning that the amount of sewage discharged was unknown. After completing calculations, the city concluded the amount.

“The issue occurred in the screening area of the treatment plant – where two of the plant’s four-bar screens failed and forced a temporary full-plant bypass to avoid permanent damage to the facility and surrounding infrastructure,” read a release from the city. “This was a very unusual circumstance and something the City has not experienced since 2015.”

The bypasses of wastewater occurred on Oct. 3 and 4. All insistences reportedly resulted from the equipment failure, which has since been repaired, according to the city.

The provided breakdown is as follows:

  • Plant bypass occurred for a duration of 5.81 hours, with a volume of 48 million litres discharged
  • Headworks bypass occurred for 4.12 hours, with a total volume of 40 million litres discharged.
  • Secondary bypass occurred for 23.4 hours, with a total volume of 265 million litres discharged.

The city says staff have followed all of the necessary reporting requirements in the City’s Environmental Compliance Approval and have reported the incident to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP).

It was revealed that the city also experienced overflow events at four combined sewer overflow tanks (Royal Ave, Main/King, Greenhill Ave and Red Hill Valley Pipe) and four other monitored locations (Pleasant/Edenbridge, Wellington St. N, and Strathearne Ave. N) during the recent storm.

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