Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Recall all those "raw sewage in the River" stories?
The media has had a field day with stories of raw sewage being dumped into the Ottawa River from ancient sewer control points, a number of which date from the late 1800's. Typically, the focus is on the obvious: raw sewage. Ignored is why those sewage facilities are over a hundred years old. My view is that successive councils have favoured glamorous higher profile spending projects that buy them favour with select voting groups. The go for the glitz, they delay and postpone the core civic expenditures. Hello Walkerton, decades of not-upgraded water works, cosy featherbedding, porkbarrelling, etc.
At the corner of Old Wellington (you know, the mostly closed segments of former-Wellington that runs from below the Garden of the Provinces till it meets Albert at the old Broad St intersection*) and Booth, construction has started to replace one of these old regulator stations. These drain pipes fill up in the Glebe, flow under Preston Street through Little Italy (flooding and backing up in basements there) and thence to the Ottawa River.
Why do they flood into the Ottawa River? Well, they always did, after all the flood overflow mechanisms were installed in 1880! But they probably flood more often in Dalhousie neighborhood because more and more city land gets paved over and built over and drains faster. The City has no regulations to require permeable pavements. More requirements are being put in place requiring new large buildings to "hold" their rainwater, but I am not sure if they apply everywhere (like upstream on the pipe, hello Glebe!) or just on the downstream portions of the sewers, in Dalhousie and LeBreton Flats (which must hold and delay releasing 100% of rain fall).
What we really need are performance standards or benchmarks, a spreadsheet that every municipality could upload many performance standards for comparisson to all other municipalities. I did this is a businessman, comparing my stats with industry averages, and believe me its hard to hide behind "but we are different/special" whining for very long. Sloppily run cities, just like businesses, show up in the stats right some quick. But businesses go out of business when they are run poorly. City halls just beg for grants from senior levels of government, and get bailed out, thus their bad behaviour gets rewarded.
No premier's name or mayor's name shown.
Mr Harper's name is also absent.
Workers doing what they do, without a shovel.
First priority, a portable sewage retention pond.
*On internet maps of the City, they persist in showing former Wellington as Wellington, and the newer Wellington going out past the War Museum as Ottawa River Parkway. How does one update the internet?