A bid to find illegal sewer connections, which would reduce the amount of e-coli entering creeks like Chedoke and Red Hill, has collided with the city’s budget challenges.
A staff request to spend 900 thousand dollars each year on a permanent team to isolate and repair such connections has been referred to the 2017 budget approval process.
Councillor Chad Collins suggests that will be a tough place to find support.
He notes that city council will be looking to find 32 million dollars in savings, something he stresses “will be a very difficult task” without touching staff levels or service levels.
Councillor Tom Jackson agrees, citing competing interests and the hydro, water, tax and other rates that have left constituents “tapped out”.
Since 2009, inspectors have fixed 229 illegal hookups that were polluting the watershed.
They’ve found one such connection for every 500 metres of sewer, while inspecting only 10% of the system. Staff estimate it would take at least another eight years to video inspect the rest of the separated sewer system.