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Toronto’s plan to keep billions of litres of sewage out of waterways

Thursday, September 19th 2019, 12:41 pm - Toronto is embarking on its most ambitious stormwater management program ever.

The $3 billion project will aim to improve water quality in the Lower Don River, Taylor-Massey Creek and along Toronto’s Inner Harbour by diverting combined sewer overflow out our waterways.

In 2018, 7.1 billion litres of raw sewage found its way into Lake Ontario and other Toronto waterways, according to city officials.

Officials plan to do this by upgrading existing technology and the city's capacity to capture, transport and treat Toronto's water.

The old system is over a hundred years old and can no longer handle the flush of water that comes through during violent storms.

"When it rains heavily in the old part of the city, [water] fills up one sewer," explains Lou Di Gironimo, general manager of Toronto Wastewater.

"That sewer carries domestic waste and rainwater." When there's a major storm, some of that water and sewage spills into the Don River.

"What we need to do is stop discharging that into the river."

Officials are building a series of deep-shaft locations and a 10.6-km long tunnel (6.3-metres in diameter), all of which can store rainwater which can then be sent off for treatment.

Di Gironimo says this allows crews to deal with excess water after a rain event has passed, instead of having to contend with it all at once.

The project is expected to be complete sometime between 2030 and 2038, depending on the amount of funding received.


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