City of Hamilton environmental and infrastructure issue: Burlington Street Sewage Spill
HAMILTON, ON – This morning, Hamilton Water maintenance staff uncovered, through their investigation of a separate maintenance issue, a hole in a combined sewer pipe, spilling into a large storm sewer that was discharging into Hamilton Harbour. The section of pipe is in the area of Burlington Street and Wentworth Street North.
Staff, after preliminary investigation and consultation of City records, believe the hole was put in the combined sewer pipe in 1996. It appears that the contractor at the time was under the impression that all pipes were storm sewers and were designed to directly connect to box culverts leading out to the harbour. The catchment area for the combined sewer system is approximately 50 properties that are tied into this pipe.
Staff are not currently aware of the exact volume of the discharge. The City will publicly report this number as soon as staff have completed their assessment.
Hamilton Water’s immediate priority upon discovering the leak was mitigating the spill and to protect the environment. The City continues to follow the necessary notification protocol to the province and other agencies.
Upon discovering the leak, Hamilton Water staff took the following actions:
- Reported the spill to Spills Action Centre (REF # 1-29OZA) around 12:20 pm
- Reported the spill to City Spills around 12:20 pm
- Took short-term action to stop the flow from the leak to the harbour
Residents in the area can expect to see a high level of activity in the area over the next few days with trucks and other vehicles as staff work to mitigate the current leak and begin work to make the necessary repairs.
Hamilton Water is reviewing its internal processes and identifying opportunities for process improvement, and the Office of the City Auditor has been asked to consider an internal investigation in the interest of determining opportunities to improve and aim to prevent these types of incidents in the future.
Public Works staff are expected to bring a report forward to the City’s Public Works Committee on Monday, and Communications staff are also working on sharing the information via the City website to ensure reference information on this issue is available ongoing.