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August 22, 2016
Gores Landing Hall

Presentation to Hamilton Township Citizens Council – by Isobel Hie


After several flooding events, which caused the release of millions of litres of sewage to be, discharged from Peterborough's sewage treatment plant it was clear that something had to be done. In March of 2012 I called several businesses, organizations and First Nations communities to attend at my home for morning coffee and discussion. Little did we know this was the start of a 2-year endeavour.

Our goal:

To push and convince the City of Peterborough to move forward and make the upgrades to the City's sewer treatment plant as was recommended after the flood of 2004
to encourage the decision makers to be active supporters worked "under the radar" no press involvement if possible.

The Peterborough flood July 15,2004 gushed down the Otonabee River into Rice lake.
The City of Peterborough experienced a breakdown of infrastructure throughout the city and at its sewage treatment plant. An unknown amount of sewage entered into the Otonabee River and its tributaries from storm drains and the sewage treatment plant. Everything deposited into Rice Lake.

Note from City of Peterborough Flood 2004 Fact Sheet:

Sewage flow rates on this day were over 54 million gallons, the normal averages for this time of year traditionally are 10 million gallons per day.
(Brandan Wedley, Sun Media, Peterborough Examiner 2012) The City released sewage or partially treated sewage into the river five times since December 2006.

March 13, 2012 Peterborough Sewage Treatment By-pass
Raw sewage by-pass - 51,500 cubic metres equals 51million 500 thousand litres.
Partially treated sewage released - 43,380 cubic metres over 16 hours and 15 minutes for an average flow rate of 2 670 cubic metres per hour.
Litres in a cubic metre = 1,000
Therefore combined raw and partially sewage comes to a total of 94 million 880
thousand litres. This amount does not include the discharge from the 299 storm
drains that enter into the Otonabee River and its tributaries. Another by-pass occurred on April 08, 2014 (Peterborough Examiner)


Info. From David Bradley Ministry of Environment

There’s no limit on the volume of sewage that can bypass treatment. The Certificate of Approval stipulates that a bypass is prohibited except to (1) Avoid loss of life, personal injury, and danger to the public or severe property damage. (2) The District Manager agrees that it's necessary for the purpose of carrying out essential maintenance and he has given prior written acknowledgement of the bypass, (3) The Regional Director has given prior written acknowledgement of the bypass.

When the capacity reaches a level that exceeds the WWTP's ability to treat the wastewater by primary clarification it is then sent to storage tanks. Should the storage tanks become full the wastewaters then mixed with fully treated wastewater and discharged into the Otonabee River. If the capacity to do this is reached then the raw sewage is released into the river without any treatment. For any bypass occurrence notification of start and stop is given to the City of Peterborough, Emergency Management, Hiawatha First Nations, Otonabee South Monaghan Township and Cavan Monaghan Township. Samples of bypass are collected and analyzed as required by the C. of A. Written reports are made to the MOE.

City Retention Ponds

June 2013 City of Peterborugh held an open house regarding proposed storm retention ponds. There is known to be 299 storm drains, which enter the Otonabee River and its tributaries. (City consultant)

Meeting with Attention

December 03,2014 Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change Office Peterborough.

MOE Water Inspector, Rudy Pirosko; Moe Drinking Water Supervisor, Jacqueline Fuller; MOE District Manager (A), David Bradley; MOE Sr. Environmental Officer, David Fisher; Health Unit Donna Churipuy Manager of Environmental Health Programs; City of Peterborough, Pat Devlin Manager of Environmental Protection Division.
Present from our delegation: Marion Burton, Heather Brooks-Hill, Stuart Brough, Isobel Hie, John Andersen and Dr. David Lean Environmental

Found in discharge pharmaceuticals. There are no regulatory standards set.

Completion of new plant: Completion date December 2015

The plant will be able to hold 25,000 cubic meters of overflow. Old plant can hold 8,000 cubic meters. The new plant has a new screening facility designed to handle the Peak Flow Rate of 190,900 m/day. Will include a Grit removal, Peak Flow Attenuation Facility
(Includes new pumps and extra storage tanks with a volume of 25,000 m), Updated computer control centre and On-site Storm Water Management System.

Other Environmental Impacts on Waterway

Coal Tar:

June 26,2010 Peterborough Examiner

Brendan Wedley of the Peterborough Examiner reported that coal tar was seeping into the Otonabee River. City council had to consider pulling $500,000 from a reserve fund to study the coal tar contamination and develop an action plan for remediation. It was learned that in 2007 a study estimated it would cost between $1 and $2 million to clean up at the location of the courthouse property. No estimate was given for the Millennium Park property, which would have to have extra taken as It was located near the Otonabee River. At the time city officials did not want to take any action, however when the water level was lowered to repair Lock 19 it was discovered that the seepage covered the rocks and the water surface. It is assumed the contamination source to be the city-owned site of the former Peterborough Gas Works facility on Simcoe St. The plant operated for almost 80 years.

Polychlorinated Biphenvls (PCB'sl

From Review of Occupational& Environmental Health Studies in Peterborough,
Final Report 2009

The main area down steam that was looked at in studies (Milford 2002, Jaagumagi and Petro 1992, Maude 1992) was Rice Lake, south from Little Lake along the Otonabee River. The studies suggest that PCB levels are increasing in Rice Lake and it is a result of sediment movement from Little Lake. There is also an increase of other metals downstream.

MOE Report - Sediment and Biological Monitoring of Little Lake, Otonabee River and Rice Lake. 2010 -Released March 2012
This now public report deals with the water contamination of Polychlorinated Biphenyl’s (PCB's) found in Little Lake, down the Otonabee River and into Rice Lake. From the report, anyone consuming fish from these 3 locations should consult the advice provided in the updates to the 2011- 2012 guide to eating Ontario Sports Fish. First Nation people have been told not to eat the fish.

The Old Peterborough City Dump.

See page occurring, clean up in progress.

With the knowledge of these other environmental hazards we chose to stick to our goal to make a significant difference on the discharges of sewage and e-coli into the Otonabee River. We later learned there were other groups like ours trying to make a difference in these areas.


PCB's - We still have PCB's, but the toxic ones have biodegraded. Coal tar benzoids are more of a concern. Pharmaceuticals in the wastewater are a concern.
Dr. Lean has said that Rice Lake has improved and the lake is healthy enough to grow wild rice once again.

Seechi test improved (green stuff, chlorophyll)