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City of Winnipeg
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Reports on untreated sewage

As requested by the Province of Manitoba, we report on the incidents of untreated sewer release into the environment as a result of a disruption to our wastewater collection system. These events are usually the result of something unanticipated like a watermain break or a power outage. When sewer operations are disrupted, the sewage can be released into the environment, which helps protect public health and prevent property damage like basement flooding.

2012

Date Location Estimated
discharge
Estimated
duration
Cause Incident details and response
December 31 Fort Rouge Park storm relief outfall, 339 River Ave. Unknown 3:25 pm to 11:45 pm Partial blockage in a combined sewer at Osborne St. and Stradbrook Ave.
  • On Monday, December 31 at 2:15 pm, notification was received of a small flow discharging from the Fort Rouge Park 2400 mm storm relief outfall.
  • A crew, dispatched at about 3:00 pm and onsite at about 3:25 pm, began tracking the cause of the flow.
  • At about 4:42 pm, the crew was called away to attend a second emergency at another lift station.
  • The crew, back onsite by 9:15 pm, began efforts to safely close the sluice gate given the extremely cold temperatures.
  • The sluice gate was fully closed by 11:45 pm, preventing further discharge to the Assiniboine River.
  • On January 4, 2013, at approximately 2:10 pm, a crew determined that the overflow was caused by a partial blockage in a 450 mm combined sewer at Osborne St. and Stradbrook Ave. The blockage was cleared at about 10:00 pm.
  • The incident was reported on December 31, 2012, to Manitoba Conservation's Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
December 26 St. Norbert lift station, 25 De La Digue Ave. Unknown Approx. 26 minutes Compressor malfunction
  • On Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 10:24 a.m. a “low air” alarm was received at the St. Norbert lift station, and then at 11:05 a.m. a “high level” alarm was received.
  • A crew, on site by 11:25 a.m., determined that the sewage pumps were not operating due to a burnt out compressor, which caused an overflow to occur.
  • The compressor was replaced, the lift station was put back into normal operation and the “high level” alarm cleared at 11:31 a.m.
  • he incident was reported on Thursday, December 27, 2012, to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
December 7 McDermot Ave. outfall 0.016 ML Approx. 8 hours Gate malfunction
  • At 8:50 am on December 7, 2012, a crew observed a small discharge to the Red River through the 2700 mm McDermot Ave. outfall. They finished closing the large positive gate at 10:20 am.
  • While closing the gate, a piece of the gate operator broke.
  • Crews searched the sewer district for the cause of the discharge. At 11:30 am. a small discharge was again noticed at the outfall.
  • It was determined the gate was not fully seated in the closed position, so was allowing a slow discharge to flow in the outfall.
  • As the gate was now inoperable, to stop further discharge, crews constructed a temporary weir in the outfall by 5:00 pm.
  • Arrangements were made to pump out the sewage upstream of the weir.
  • The incident was reported on Friday, December 7, 2012, to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as Environment Canada.
December 6 King St. and Alexander Ave Unknown Unknown A partial blockage in the combined sewer
  • On Thursday, Dec. 6 at approximately 3:30 p.m., during a maintenance check, a crew observed a trickle of flow overtopping a weir from the 300 mm combined sewer and discharging into a 900 mm storm relief sewer at King St. and Alexander Ave.
  • Investigation revealed the flow in the combined sewer was overtopping the weir due to a partial blockage in the 300 mm combined sewer.
  • The crew cleared the blockage at about 7:15 p.m.
  • The incident was reported on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
November 25 Montcalm lift station, 19 Archibald Street 0.02 ML About 2 hours Leaking positive gate
  • On Saturday, November 24 at 10:30 pm, the station was shut down to allow the contractor to perform critical valve and piping work to the station's force main as part of major upgrades.
  • Following protocols, during the shutdown the positive gates at the Roland and Mission flood station outfalls were closed to allow sewage to temporarily store in the combined sewer system.
  • At 4:25 am on Sunday, November 25, the large positive gate at Mission was noted to be leaking.
  • The contractor was instructed to immediately reassemble the piping at Montcalm so the sewage pumps could be turned back on.
  • At 6:05 am the sewage pumps were started and by 6:30 am the system was drawn down enough that the leaking stopped.
  • The incident was reported on November 25, 2012, to Manitoba Conservation's Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
November 17 St. Norbert lift station, 25 De La Digue Ave. less than 0.001 ML. Approx. 7 minutes Compressor malfunction
  • On Saturday, Nov. 17 at 6:37 a.m., a “low air” alarm was received from the St. Norbert lift station, followed by a “high level” alarm at 7:08 a.m.
  • A crew, dispatched at 6:40 a.m. and on site by 7:10 a.m., determined that the sewage pumps were not operating due to a compressor malfunction, which caused an overflow.
  • The crew closed the sluice gate on the relief pipe at 7:15 a.m. to prevent further raw sewage discharge.
  • The compressor was replaced and the lift station was back to normal operation by 7:29 a.m.
  • The sluice gate was then reopened.
  • The incident was reported on November 17, 2012, to Manitoba Conservation's Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
November 7 St. John's Ave and Main St. Approximately 0.03 ML Unknown Overtopping of the diversion weir due to a partial blockage in the diversion chamber outlet pipe
  • On Wednesday, November 7 at 8:30 a.m., during a maintenance check, a City of Winnipeg Operations crew observed flow discharging from the 2900 mm diameter combined sewer relief pipe downstream of the St John’s diversion chamber located at St John’s Ave. and Main St.
  • The sewer outfall gate on the St. John’s combined relief pipe was closed by approximately 8:40 a.m. to prevent further discharge to the Red River. Further investigation revealed the flow in the combined sewer pipe was overtopping the diversion weir due to a partial blockage in the diversion chamber outlet pipe.
  • The blockage was liberated at 12:00 p.m.
  • The incident was reported on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
November 2 Mountain Avenue and Dalton Street, St. John's diversion chamber Unknown Unknown Partial sewer blockage and sewer weir overtopping
  • On Friday, November 2 at 9:00 a.m., during a maintenance check, a City of Winnipeg Operations crew observed a discoloration of flow discharging from the 2900 mm diameter combined sewer outfall pipe located on the north side of St. John’s Park at the Red River.
  • The sewer outfall gate on the St. John’s combined relief pipe was closed by 9:45 a.m. to prevent further discharge to the Red River. Further investigation revealed the flow in the pipe was originating from two sources.
  • One source of the flow was tracked to a partial blockage in a 450 mm combined sewer at Mountain Ave. and Dalton St., which caused sewage to overflow into the storm relief sewer at Mountain Ave. at Monreith St. The blockage was liberated at approximately 2:00 p.m.
  • A second flow source was found at the St John’s diversion chamber at approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday. Sewage in the combined sewer was overtopping the diversion weir and flowing into the combined sewer outfall pipe. Sandbags were used to build up the weir and stop the overflow. Investigations to determine the cause of the weir overtopping are ongoing.
  • The sewer outfall gate has been closed since 9:45 a.m. Friday. Until the cause of the overtopping is corrected the gate will remain closed except during rainfall events.
  • The incident was reported on Friday, November 2, 2012 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
October 30 Burrows Avenue at the Red River Unknown Unknown Sewer blockage
  • On Oct. 30 at 12:30 pm, during a routine maintenance check, crews observed a small flow draining from the storm relief sewer outfall pipe on Burrows Avenue at the Red River.
  • The sewer outfall gate was closed by 1:15 p.m. to prevent further discharge.
  • The source of the flow was tracked, and a partial blockage was discovered in a 375 mm combined sewer at Main St. at Aberdeen Ave, which resulted in an overflow to enter the storm relief sewer.
  • The blockage was cleared at approximately 2:00 p.m.
  • The storm relief sewer was pumped out and sewer outfall gate was reopened at 7:30 p.m.
  • Incident reported to Manitoba Conservation, Manitoba Environmental Accident Reporting Line and Environment Canada.
October 15 Gallagher Ave., west of Quelch St. and Bury St. and Whyte Ave. Unknown Unknown Blockages in the combined sewer pipe
  • Received a report at 11:30 am on October 15 of raw sewage discharging to the Assiniboine River via Omands Creek.
  • By about 12:20 pm, staff confirmed that a partial sewer blockage in a 300 mm combined sewer was causing sewage to enter into the storm relief sewer at Gallagher.
  • A crew arrived at 1:15 pm, cleared the blockage by 2:00 pm.
  • A second overflow into the same storm relief sewer was also found at Bury St. and Whyte Ave., just one block north of the Gallagher Ave. blockage.
  • Cleaning efforts at this second location began after the first overflow was cleared. This location proved more difficult to correct and the sewer overflow was blocked with sandbags at 7:00 pm while efforts continued.
  • The incident was reported on Monday, October 15, 2012 to Manitoba Conservation Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as Environment Canada.
September 7 Main Street and Inkster Unknown Unknown Plugged combined sewer pipe
  • On September 7 the City's Wastewater Operations Division was conducting an inspection of the combined sewer chamber at Main Street and Inkster. An overflow of 1-2 cm was observed. The overflow was caused by a plugged sewer, which the crew liberated within 20 minutes and levels returned to normal.
  • The incident was reported on Friday, September 7, 2012 to Manitoba Conservation Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as Environment Canada.
May 30 Main Street and Inkster Unknown About 5 days Plugged combined sewer pipe
  • On May 30, a sewer cleaning contractor noticed an overflow occurring from the combined sewer over an overflow weir to a storm relief sewer which discharges to the Red River. The contractor reported it on May 31.
  • On June 1, a crew verified a flow of about 1 to 3 cm over the weir. The crew returned early June 2 with proper safety equipment to enter the sewer and stop the overflow. Because of safety concerns with high traffic at the intersection, the crew returned at 5:30 am on June 3 and increased the weir height to contain the wastewater flow within the combined sewer.
  • On June 4, the flow was over the weir again and further investigation revealed a plugged combined sewer pipe downstream of the weir. This was cleared at 12:30 pm June 4 and levels in the sewer returned to normal.
  • The incident was reported on Friday, June 1, 2012 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
Mar 4 1178 A Kildonan Drive (Hawthorne Lift Station) 4,950 litres About 43 minutes Water main break
  • On the morning of March 4, water from a water main break flooded into the combined sewer, and from there to the Hawthorne sewage pumping station. The volume of water exceeded the pump station pumps capacity, causing a discharge to the Red River.
  • A high level alarm was received from the Hawthorne station at 5:02 am.
  • A crew, on site by 5:30 am, had the overflow gates fully closed by 5:42 pm to prevent further discharge to the river.
  • The incident was reported on March 4 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
Mar 3 Riverbend Lift Station (1740 Portage Ave.) 5,000 litres About 1 hour, 45 minutes Power outage in the St. James area
  • A power failure alarm was received at 11:15 pm.
  • A crew, on site by 12:10 am, determined that the pumps weren’t working due to the power outage in the St. James area, and sewage was overflowing to the Assiniboine River.
  • The crew had the overflow gates fully closed by 1:00 am to prevent further discharge to the river.
  • Power was restored by 4:00 am.
  • The gate was reopened once the lift station operations were fully restored at 4:40 am.
  • The incident was reported on March 4 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
Feb. 26 1178 A Kildonan Drive (Hawthorne Lift Station) 86,000 litres About 47 minutes Large water main break caused by a motor vehicle accident
  • On the morning of Feb. 26, a car hit a fire hydrant at 1301 Rothesay St., causing a large water main break. The water flooded into the combined sewer, and from there to the Hawthorne sewage pumping station. The large volume of water exceeded the pump station pumps capacity, causing a discharge to the Red River.
  • A high level alarm was received from the Hawthorne station at 11:38 am.
  • A crew, on site by noon, and had the overflow gates fully closed by 12:15 pm to prevent further discharge and began storing the sewage in the pipe system.
  • By 12:30 pm, the maximum storage capacity had been reached and an overflow gate was opened for 10 minutes to reduce the risk of basement flooding.
  • By 12:47 pm, the excess flow from the break had diminished and the station was back to normal operation.
  • The incident was reported on Feb. 26 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada. The Winnipeg Police Harbor Master was contacted to install “Danger Thin Ice” signs in the vicinity of the outfall pipe.
Feb. 18 25 De La Digue Ave (St. Norbert Lift Station) 6,400 litres About 22 minutes Sewage pumps temporarily not working
  • On Feb. 18 at about 1:04 p.m., a high level alarm was received from the St. Norbert lift station.
  • A crew was on site by 1:45 p.m. and found that an air compressor hose line, which regulates pump control, had become detached from the pumps.
  • The crew reconnected the hose line and the station resumed normal operations by 1:47 p.m.
  • The incident was reported on Feb. 18 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
Jan. 26 McDermot outfall at the Red River unknown 2 days intermittently Partially blocked combined sewer
  • On Jan. 26 at about 2:00 P.M., a crew responded to an odour complaint around 177 McDermot.
  • The crew investigated and found a partially blocked combined sewer which was causing a small sewage discharge over a weir to the storm relief sewer outfall pipe.
  • The crew flushed the combined sewer, cleared the partial blockage, and levels returned to normal.
  • The crew returned the following day at 8:30 a.m. and again observed a small sewage discharge at the same location.
  • The crew flushed a more extensive area and levels in the combined sewer returned to normal.
  • The crew closed the gate on the storm relief outfall sewer as a precaution against further discharges and the sewer will be monitored to ensure the partial blockage does not re-occur.
  • The incident was reported on Jan. 27 to Manitoba Conservation’s Environmental Accident Reporting Line as well as to Environment Canada.
Jan. 18 Burrows Avenue at the Red River unknown 8 days Two partial sewer blockages
  • On Jan. 18., a small flow of clear water was observed draining from the storm relief sewer outfall pipe on Burrows Avenue at the Red River.
  • It was determined that the flow was likely due to either groundwater or a very slow water main leak, based on the low volume and clear appearance of the water.
  • A water sample was taken on Jan. 19 for lab analysis.
  • Inspections were conducted (i.e., water pipes, manholes) to determine the cause and there were no signs of sewage inflow to the storm relief sewer.
  • The lab analysis was available on Jan. 24 and showed the presence of bacteria typical of sewage.
  • The sewer outfall gate was closed at 11:30 am on Jan. 25, preventing further discharge.
  • The flow started to increase and crews continued their investigations.
  • They discovered and cleared two partial sewer blockages that were causing sewage overflow from the combined sewer system to the storm relief sewer system.
  • The gate will remain closed until the storm relief sewer is pumped out and it is verified no additional flow is coming into the outfall pipe.
  • Incident reported to Manitoba Conservation, Manitoba Environmental Accident Reporting Line and Environment Canada.

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Last updated: February 7, 2018