City estimates 59M litres of wastewater from Rutherford Ave. sewer went into Hamilton harbour

Work crews on scene at Rutherford & Myrtle Avenues in Hamilton fixing an improper sewer connection that's caused sewage to leak into Hamilton Harbour for the past 26 years. Global News

Hamilton’s wastewater operations is estimating 59 million litres of combined sewage and stormwater was expelled into the city’s harbour over 26 years from a sewer connection issue.

Public works says the volume of the spill, identified as part of a proactive risk-based inspection pilot program, is an estimate based on the water meter usage data from 11 affected properties connected to the combined sewer pipe.

“All sewage is now flowing into the Myrtle Avenue combined sewer and all appropriate blocking of the storm sewer has been completed,” a city spokesperson said in a release late Friday afternoon.

The city says the work was finished by about 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Correction of the misconnection, in an area around Rutherford and Myrtle avenues, will cost the city some $37,000 after a CCTV inspection, vacuuming costs, excavation, sewer realignment and road repair.

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Digging up the intersection and the sewer alignment was the largest portion of the expense, weighing in at about $22,000.

The spillage is less than what flowed into the same body of water over the same 26-year period from the misaligned sewer near Burlington and Wentworth streets discovered in November.

An estimated 337 million litres of sewage spewed into the harbour from a hole in a combined sewer pipe made purposefully in 1996, according to city staff.

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Hamilton Water staff have yet to receive any order from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) regarding a possible campaign to find and fix other misconnections following the Burlington Street spill.

“Conversations have been productive, however, at the time of this news release, an order has not been issued,” the city said.

The municipality’s own a risk-based proactive inspection program was launched Dec. 3 following the discovery of the Burlington Street problem.

As part of the pilot, water staff are looking at the older areas of the city, particularly combined sewers in the areas where there are overflows to the Wentworth, Birch and Sherman, Ottawa and Kenilworth combined sewer outfalls.

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Just over 150 of 292 planned maintenance inspections have been completed to date.

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