Winnipeg reports rain overflow may have dumped diluted sewage into river

The city has estimated billions of litres of diluted sewage might run into the river annually.

Weekend rain in Manitoba may have poured more than water into the Red River.

The City of Winnipeg’s website says that for a combined 26 hours between April 15 and 17, storm water mixed with sewage may have overflowed into the river.

A third of Winnipeg is serviced by what’s known as a combined sewer-water system, prone to overflows during heavy rains.

There are about 22 overflow situations on average per year in Winnipeg.

The city has estimated billions of litres of diluted sewage might run into the river annually.

The city is working to separate some of the combined sewer and water lines over the next three decades to reduce the number of overflows, but the work comes with a $1 billion price tag.

“It’s still a concern that we’ve got sometimes raw sewage, or sewage mixed with storm water, going into the river. Sure, we’re continuing to work on that,” said Water and Waste Committee Chair Brian Mayes.

The water stewardship minister under the province’s previous NDP government, Tom Nevakshonoff, had said fines could be imposed on the city but noted they would fall on the backs of taxpayers.

Mayes said he would like to see all of the city’s 1,000 kilometres of combined lines split up. However, taxpayers would have to fork over up to $4 billion to separate all of the lines.

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P.
Transcontinental Media G.P.