Coun­cil­lors tout tanks to stop Glen Cairn f lood­ing

See hold­ing tanks sim­i­lar to those in­stalled in Alta Vista as way to shut off sewer spills

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - BY PA­TRICK DARE

Build­ing huge un­der­ground hold­ing tanks to han­dle stormwa­ter or sewage in emer­gen­cies may be one so­lu­tion to flood­ing in the Kanata area, ac­cord­ing to some coun­cil­lors.

They say the tanks, which are used in other parts of the city to pre­vent flood­ing, could be placed in neigh­bour­hoods such as Glen Cairn, the hard­est hit com­mu­nity in the flood of July 24-25 this year.

The storm brought so much rain that it got into the san­i­tary sewer sys­tem and sent sewage into base­ments, es­pe­cially in cer­tain low-ly­ing neigh­bour­hoods that flooded for the third time since 1996. One of the city’s big­gest waste­water pump­ing sta­tions, Acres Road, also over­flowed dur­ing the July del­uge.

The need for stor­age is es­pe­cially press­ing in Glen Cairn, where the prob­lem of low-ly­ing base­ments was raised to the for­mer Ottawa re­gional gov­ern­ment 10 years ago in a re­port on the Hazeldean pump­ing sta­tion.

That re­port found there were base­ments in Glen Cairn as low as 94.5 me­tres above sea level. But the Hazeldean sta­tion, which serves Glen Cairn, has an emer­gency over­flow at 95.2 me­tres. There­fore, base­ments could flood be­fore the emer­gency over­flow at the pump­ing sta­tion kicks in.

As well, the Glen Cairn base­ments are too low to drain by grav­ity to the Carp River dur­ing a big storm.

Kanata South Coun­cil­lor Peggy Felt­mate, whose ward was hard­est hit by July’s storm, says stor­age un­der a park in Glen Cairn may be a big part of the flood rem­edy.

She vis­ited a com­pleted stor­age fa­cil­ity in Sandy Hill on Fri­day and said she found it “im­pres­sive.”

Sandy Hill was one of a num­ber of Ottawa neigh­bour­hoods hit by re­peated in­ci­dents of flood­ing. The city built a stor­age tank un­der Sandy Hill Park to han­dle stormwa­ter and sewage. The park el­e­va­tion was also low­ered so it can act as a stormwa­ter pond dur­ing big storms.

Felt­mate said she isn’t cer­tain that the park in Glen Cairn is at the right el­e­va­tion to be hold­ing stormwa­ter, but she wants to pur­sue it.

Peter Hume, chair­man of the plan­ning and en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee, noted that a sewage stor­age tank was placed in his Alta Vista ward in 1999 to help pre­vent sewage backup. Hume said flood-preven­tion projects in the west end should be un­der way next year. Mi­nor mea­sures to im­prove wa­ter flow at cul­verts and ditches dur- ing storms have al­ready be­gun.

The city spent $22 mil­lion in 2006 to re­duce base­ment flood­ing, then some­thing sim­i­lar over the fol­low­ing two years. Hume says coun­cil­lors are highly sym­pa­thetic to the need for flood-re­me­di­a­tion mea­sures and “the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process will be quick.” He says the city will shift spending if nec­es­sary to get the work go­ing.

Stittsville-Kanata West Coun­cil­lor Shad Qadri said it makes sense to use un­der­ground stor­age tanks in com­mu­ni­ties that are al­ready built. And he said it makes more sense in new com­mu­ni­ties to make sure at-grade stormwa­ter ponds have the ca­pac­ity to han­dle the pre­cip­i­ta­tion from big storms.

Qadri said Ottawa’s waste­water treat­ment sys­tem all drains to a sin­gle plant and it’s wise to build some stor­age ca­pac­ity to give that sys­tem some breath­ing room.

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