Two of Ontario's leading environmental groups today filed a formal request that the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) immediately review and revise certificates of approvals issued in relation to Kingston's sewage works.
Pursuant to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) filed an Application for Review of the approvals on the grounds that they were inadequate to protect the environment and public health and safety.
The focus of the Application for Review is kingston's practice of allowing sewage to bypass treatment and be discharged into local watercourses during wet weather conditions (i.e. rainfall or spring runoff). In April 2005, Kingston undertook a sewage treatment bypass that resulted in the discharge of approximately 52 million litres of raw sewage into local watercourses. In a recent six-year period, Kingston experienced an average of 10 bypasses per year.
"For decades, the City of Kingston has dumped raw sewage into public waterways. Meanwhile, people living downstream are worried about contaminants in their wells and in fish," said Mark Mattson, President of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. "Enough is enough."
"The discharge of raw sewage into watercourses can pose serious impacts upon the environment and public health", added Richard Lindgren, staff lawyer with CELA. "If the City believes that it cannot avoid bypasses, then, at a minimum, the certificates of approval should be amended to impose stringent conditions requiring the City to provide timely public warnings, and to undertake appropriate measures to monitor, report upon, and clean up bypass contaminants."
Under the EBR, the Application for Review was filed with Ontario?s Environmental Commissioner, who then forwards a copy to the MOE. Upon receipt of the Application, the MOE has 60 days to decide whether to conduct the requested review. The EBR Application for Review has been posted at: www.waterkeeper.ca and www.cela.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Mark Mattson (Lake Ontario Waterkeeper) 416-861-1237
Richard Lindgren (CELA) 613-385-1686