Downtown tunnels finally ready to keep sewage out of river

By Kate Porter, CBC News Ottawa, November 20, 2020

More than a decade after Ottawa city council launched a series of projects aimed at keeping sewage from spilling into the Ottawa River, a massive storage system under the city is finally ready to hold all that dirty water.

Mayor Jim Watson stood at LeBreton Flats Friday afternoon to announce that the $232-million "engineering marvel," which began construction in 2016, was now ready to store water when the next big storm hits.

The city built a pair of tunnels, 6.2 kilometres in total, and 15 underground chambers capable of holding up to 18 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of sewage. 

(...)The sewage storage tunnel is the "cornerstone" of the Ottawa River Action Plan, a set of 17 projects approved by city council in February 2010, said Alain Gonthier, the city's associate general manager of public works.

Over the years, the city has been working to build pipes to carry sewage and rainwater separately. No longer does Ottawa send sewage into the Ottawa River 70 to 80 times annually, he said.

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