PEI

Sweet smell of success: Charlottetown sewage system passes rainfall test

Charlottetown’s new sewage system passed a major test on Monday. Despite heavy rainfalls, there was no overflow of untreated sewage into Charlottetown harbour.

No untreated sewage overflowed into harbour after Thanksgiving storm, city says

Before the Spring Park Combined Sewer Separation Project was completed this summer, heavy rainfall would cause untreated effluent to flow into the Charlottetown harbour. (CBC)

Charlottetown's new sewage system passed a major test on Monday.

Despite heavy rainfalls, the city says there was no overflow of untreated sewage into Charlottetown harbour.

"This was a significant storm with more than 74 millimetres of rain on Sunday and Monday, so it's big news that we have had no overflow event," Coun. Edward Rice, chairman of the city's water and sewer utility committee, said in a news release.

"The plant was operating at peak capacity because there is still work to do to improve the collection system and keep stormwater out of the sanitary system, but the efforts to date have paid off so far."

It's big news that we have had no overflow event.– Coun. Edward Rice

The Spring Park Combined Sewer Separation Project began in 2012 and wrapped up this summer. It was the final piece to separating Charlottetown's storm water and sanitary sewer system lines.

The project was funded by all three levels of government with a total cost of approximately $18 million.

The rain guage at Erica MacIntyre's place in Cardigan, P.E.I., mid-afternoon Monday. (Erica MacIntyre/Facebook )

"It was our hope that the Spring Park project would resolve many of the environmental issues associated with combined sewer overflows, but this is the first time the system was really put to the test," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee.

Prior to the separation project, the combined sewers in Charlottetown would collect sewage from residential, commercial and industrial properties, as well as storm water, and direct the flow to the city's wastewater treatment plant.

When it rained heavily or there was a lot of snow melt, the precipitation would mix with untreated effluent, exceeding the capacity of the treatment plant and excess water that contained untreated sewage would flow into the harbour.

now