City responds to concerns over sewage by-pass incidents raised by downriver communities

sarnia waste waterWhen the general manager of the Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission (CK PUC) heard concerns about the frequency of sewage being by-passed from treatment facilities directly into the St. Clair River, from which its members draw their drinking water, he was asked to go directly to the source.

That resulted in Tom Kissner, general manager of the CK PUC, writing a letter to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, noting the 39 times since 2012 that the Ministry of the Environment had contacted CK PUC advising of sewage by-passes to the St. Clair.

Kissner received a reply to the October 6 letter from Andrew Morin, City of Sarnia engineer, who had written Councillor Terry Burrell, vice chair of the Bi-National Public Advisory Committee.

In his October 20 response, which had been forwarded on to Jeff Wesley, a councillor with Chatham-Kent council who had raised the issue with the BPAC, Morin said sewer separation and mitigation of overflows to the St. Clair River “is one of the City’s top priorities and has been staff and Council’s focus for the last 10 years.”

Morin referenced two sewage by-pass occurrences, one on September 1 resulting from a power failure, and another on September 5, that being the result of a significant rainfall.

Morin told Kissner in his memo that the Water Pollution Control Centre is being operated within the rules set out by the Ministry of the Environment.

Kissner said he plans to pass on the response to members of the CK PUC.

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