Sept 21 2001

CKWS-TV News

City moves quickly to plug pollution leak
by Catherine Lathem

In other news:

The City of Kingston has moved quickly to plug a pollution leak.

Hundreds of gallons of untreated human waste has been flowing directly into the Cataraqui River.

Tonight, City officials say the problem is fixed.

Here’s Newswatch’s Catherine Lathem.

This was the scene along Kingston’s inner harbour earlier this week-, Human waste, feminine hygiene products, milk and food processing waste, All leaking into the Cataraqui River.

Today the scene is a little cleaner.

Catherine Lathem/reporting:“The Ministry of the Environment was notified of the problems at this sight through their ongoing sewer testing project on august 29th. Two days later the City came up with a 5-step action plan to find a solution.

Now 3-weeks later they say the problem is finally fixed.”

Isabel turner/Kingston mayor:“Council met. Staff had the information. Staff had to work on the plan. You don’t think that up overnight. And as soon as they did the plan and the financial resources they needed for it, it came to council. So we have to allow for planning.”

Paul Maclatchy:“The first step was looking for the malfunctioning over-flow structures if we could find one of those we could turn them off right away. The only other way it could happen is if we had and illegal connection or a collapse in the system somewhere. And that was going to take a long time to find.”

But when Ministry of Environment officials, visited the sight they realized, the sewage wasn’t all coming from private households.

John Allen/Ministry of Environment:“It was a milkish grey substance that we saw. Which we felt wasn’t related to just domestic sewage, that there was some type of food processing waste going into the sewer.”

And while City officials wouldn’t confirm it, the Ministry did say, some of that industrial waste came from Kingston’s Parmalat plant.

Through no fault of their own,

Allen:“We met with the City this morning, that their was a blockage in the santitary sewer at Division and Railway and that blockage caused an overflow into the storm sewer.”

And that’s when the City fixed the problem.

Maclatchy:“We immediately called in a jet truck. He jetted out the line and cleaned the blockage and restored the system to it’s normal function. And that very quickly cleaned up the sewage and the discharge that we saw at the Kingscourt sewer at Belle Park. So the discharge now is clean and clear.”

And the mayor says this latest incident has made the City aware of the problems that exist and they have a plan to fix them.

Mayor:“And it’s one of those things again that you have to keep going at until we’ve got it all fixed.”

Catherine Lathem, CKWS Newswatch, Kingston.

While the Ministry of Environment is pleased the City has fixed the problem, they are still investigating the incident.

And they add, it’s still unknown if any charges will be laid.