Yesterday, the City of Hamilton’s Public Works Committee received a presentation from Nick Winters, director of water and wastewater operations, regarding an enhanced public notification protocol for bypasses at the wastewater treatment plant or at combined sewer overflow (CSO) locations.

Phase one of the enhanced public notification protocol launched yesterday and will provide notifications on the city’s website if there is a bypass at the wastewater treatment plant. Bypasses typically occur in extreme wet weather, when the amount of wastewater entering the system exceeds the capacity of the treatment plant. The city will post details of any bypass at

Throughout Hamilton there are 27 CSO locations. At fourteen of those locations monitoring and instrumentation are present, while the remaining thirteen lack monitoring, mostly due to site challenges, such as complete submersion or being in a remote location, far from telecommunications infrastructure.

Winters noted that upgrades to the Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment plant were the largest investment in the city’s history to address wastewater management at $340 million.

“…Installing instrumentation at all of the remaining unmonitored locations, as well as improving instrumentation at some of the existing locations, could cost as much as $10 million dollars,” said Winters in the presentation to the committee.

Phase two of the enhanced public notification process will launch in spring 2020 and will include automated notifications for bypasses at the treatment plant, and overflows at the city’s combined sewer overflow outfall locations. Phase two will also include historical records of previous bypasses and overflows where the information is available. During this period staff will also further investigate monitoring of the remaining thirteen locations.

“The completion of the new main pumping station [at Woodward] will also have a positive benefit related to combined sewer overflows, because it has a larger, deeper wet well, which will provide additional flooding protection for the lower city, and the increase in storage capacity will have a corresponding reduction in CSOs,” said Winters.

In addition to the enhanced public notification protocol, city staff also launched an educational video to help explain how combined sewer systems work.


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