Although Kingston's plan to improve its aging sewers kicked into high gear last year, more untreated sewage spewed into local waterways in 2003 than during any other time in recent history.
Nearly 700 million litres of raw sewage - enough to fill 8,750 backyard swimming pools - were discharged into creeks, rivers and Lake Ontario over a 12-month period.
The amount is 10 times greater than the volume of raw sewage sent into the waterways in 2002, despite recent upgrades to the city system to reduce the number of occasions on which sewage is deliberately spilled.
"We had days in 2003 that were more than all of 2002," said Utilities Kingston president Jim Keech.
"If I'm mad, I'm mad at the Ministry of Environment," says Waterkeeper Mark Mattson.
"They've got the responsibility to enforce the law and I really feel they've been on the city's case for decades. And whatever tools they're using have been ineffective. I think ultimately, we have to look back at the ministry. Unless the ministry gets involved and starts using the environmental laws that were meant to protect the Cataraqui River and Kingston Harbour, I don't see what there is to force the city to do." (Source: Kingston Whig-Standard)