Sunday, 23 September 2012

Rained Out!

With excess rain the night before making for some very muddy conditions, September 22nd's workshop in Rosedale was cancelled. Keep an eye out as we try to re-schedule! 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Last Night's Workshop: The Recap

Well, the grate was clean, but too bad the same can't be said for the water. The picture below shows RHC-16, the large outfall located at the corner of Barton Street E and Nash Road N. The picture on the left was taken earlier on this summer, and the picture on the right was taken last night. As you can hopefully tell, the grate is currently clean. In fact, there was practically no debris found at the site. Additionally, the pipe wasn't flowing, and there was no smell. The complete opposite of what was found back in July! 

 While the outfall wasn't exhibiting the 3 actions we ask Pipewatchers to look for, it was easy to tell from the water alone that this outfall still has issues. Check out the photo below. Would you swim in that? Would you let your kids?

Historically, this outfall has not only had visual issues, but confirmed contamination issues as well. In 2002, the city reported it to have 338,000 counts of E.coli, which is far above the bylaw limit of 2,400 (/100mL), and leaps and bounds over the Province of Ontario's Recreational Limit of 100 (/100mL). 

The next, and last, Pipewatch workshop of the month is scheduled for this Saturday, the 22nd, at 11:00am. We'll be meeting in the Rosedale Park area just outside of the Bocce Ball Facility. An informative stroll within a beautiful setting? I think that sounds like a great way to start your weekend! 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Last Saturday's Workshop: The Recap

This past Saturday Pipewatch held its second workshop in the Quigley/Greenhill area. Taking the same route that was trekked a few days earlier, a new batch of volunteers were trained to identify outfalls within the area. Here's what we found: 

This is DCT-16. It's located about 50m north of Greenhill Avenue, just west of the large condo complex at the Quigley and Greenhill intersection. In 2002, it was recorded as having E.coli counts of 338,000 (/100ml) - which far exceeds the city by-law limit of 2,400 counts (/100ml), and the province's recreational limit of 1000 counts (/100ml). 

Here's a closer look:

Gross, right? While there was no strong odor, it's clear that the pipe was flowing and had a lot of debris built up on the grate. Volunteers (at both workshops) also noted dark algae at the base of the outfall. Algae (in these conditions) is bad as it helps to remove oxygen from the water supply leaving harsher living conditions for the creek critters and small invertebrates that reside along the creek bed. 

This section of the creek is also home to another outfall, DCT-15, which is located directly beneath the lookout for DCT-16. For a pipewatcher short on time, this location is ideal! 
While DCT-15's discharges have historically been recorded as less concerning than DCT-16's, the total counts of E.coli were above the levels set by both the Hamilton by-law and the province of Ontario. On June 5, 2002 it was recorded to have 27,000 counts (/100ml). On Saturday, the pipe was discharging, there was only a slight smell, and as you can see, there is some debris on the grate. 

The view looking down. 

The view from the other side of the creek (on top of DCT-16). 

Couldn't make either one of the two sessions in this neighbourhood? Don't worry, you haven't missed the boat! Call us up if you're interested (905-549-0900) and we will be more than happy to arrange a time to meet and show you the outfalls in the area. 

Otherwise, the next workshop will take place on Wednesday, September 19th, at 6:30pm. We'll be meeting at the corner of Melvin and Talbot Street (in the McQuesten community). Bring your walking shoes as we'll be walking along some of the Red Hill Trail, crossing the highway (along the sidewalk of course!), and hopping the guardrail to view one of the worst outfall offenders - it should be a doozy! 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Last Night's Workshop : The Recap

Last night volunteers met at the corner of Quigley and Greenhill to learn about and monitor the 6 discharge points within their area. Together we walked the stretch of creek behind the large condo complex, crossed Quigley road, and headed along trail behind Veevers Drive. Here are some of our findings:

Above is DCT -11, a storm sewer outfall located at the end of the trail behind Marcella Cresent. In preparation for this workshop, this outfall was also visited on Tuesday, September 11th at 11am. At this time not only was the pipe discharging, but there was also a fowl odor that could be smelled at least 10m away. Last night however, while the pipe was still discharging, the smell was gone - lucky for our volunteers! 

In addition to others in the area, this pipe in particular has been on EH's radar for quite some time. Back in 2002 when the MOE ordered the city to collect samples from discharges of concern, 4 samples were taken from this outfall; 2 during dry conditions, 1 during low rain conditions (1 to 7mm of rain), and 1 during medium wet conditions (8 to 18mm of rain). All of these samples contained E.coli counts which exceeded the city by-law limit of 2,400 counts (/100ml). In fact, a sample taken during a dry spell on July 8th was recorded to have 480,000 counts!  For that reason, and for the fact that it continues to release discharges and odors, we plan to keep a close eye on it! 

Volunteers also recorded the following: 

DCT - 16 : Medium levels of debris built up in the grate. No flow. No smell. 
DCT - 15: Medium levels of debris built up in the grate. Low flow. No smell. 
DCT - 14 and 13: Couldn't be seen by volunteers (requires going into the culvert).
DCT - 12: Couldn't be seen by volunteers (requires going into and crossing the creek).

In case you missed last night's workshop, we'll be holding an identical session this Saturday at 11am! So strap on your walking shoes, put on a bit of bug repellent, and we'll see you at the corner of Quigley and Greenhill! 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

City Invests Into Wellington CSO

In case you missed the article in the Spectator today, the city of Hamilton is set to install a $4 million real-time control system to better manage the combined sewage that is currently flowing from the Wellington CSO.

This pipe alone is responsible for annually releasing approximately 340,000 cubic meters of untreated sewage into the bay - that's one third of the storm-fuelled sewage that spills directly into the harbor!

Click here to read the full article. 

Photo credit: Michael Cook/Hamilton Spectator 
The Wellington Street combined sewer overflow is dark and dank in this view looking downstream toward the harbour.