toronto water

City of Toronto to send alerts when sewage spills in lake

Heavy rain storms not only flood streets, cut power and mess up weekend music festivals. They can also cause sewage to bypass treatment plants and flow into Lake Ontario. According to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, this under-treated sewage seeps into the lake almost every week.

Waterkeeper knew many were unaware of this. And, coming in contact with sewage-contaminated water can lead to a myriad of health concerns. Last year, Waterkeeper submitted a legal application under the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights to ask the City of Toronto to publicly notify citizens about sewage spills.

Now, the city will send out public alerts after wet weather events giving updates in real time about sewage bypasses and water quality. Waterkeeper recommended that the city follow the same procedures used when issuing extreme hot and cold weather advisories, the charity's vice president Krystyn Tully said over email.

According to Waterkeeper, Toronto's water treatment plants haven't kept pace with the city's growth and climate change, leading to potential bypasses during rain storms and snowmelts.

What do you think about these wet weather alerts? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Scott Wilton in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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