I am glad to see Federal funding for reducing the pollution of the Ottawa River. It is about time governments — Federal, Provincial, and Municipal — stopped giving themselves free passes to pollute public waterways.
The City of Ottawa has on numerous occasions averted its eyes from the sewage it dumps in the river. I think it is because politicians don’t see much political value in underground sewers. Once built, you can’t see them. Much better to spend money on visible projects, especially if they are visible around election time.
As we reached “peak sewer” in the 1990’s and realized we couldn’t just keep draining and piping away the sewage and rainfall, the concept of surface storage ponds came along. The first ones, you may recall, had steep sides and were fenced off for safety.
Must avert eyes.
But a surprising (to engineers) thing happened. People liked sewage ponds. They attracted birds and wildlife. People paid high premiums for residential lots adjacent wetlands. A few new ponds came with walking trails nearby. Later, the fencing became more selective.
Now storage ponds are deliberately landscaped more in keeping with recreational environments.
No, we aren’t swimming in them.
In other cities (and they have been featured on this blog numerous times) storage ponds have now become “rain gardens” and are prominent features of urban parks and high income neighbourhoods.
And this past winter I came across some prominent politically visible sewer infrastructure:
This is on the shores of Lake Kissimmee in Florida. It looks sorta like a cockpit set in the ground. Or a greenhouse?
Actually, its a viewing port into a sewer:
Looking in, you can actually see the filters and settling bins for cleaning waterborn junk.
I confess to being rather surprised to see this, but not the surface stormwater ponds nearby that were a prominent feature of this waterfront park:
Note that all that infrastructure is not fenced off. Nor signed as “no trespassing”.
I came across the same transparent sewer facility in Dunedin, Fl. too, that then drained into the bioswale or “rain garden” just beyond:
BTW, notice the nice wide pathway for people who cycle, and the parallel but distinct walking path. Oh, and the bike repair station with tools and airpump. And benches. And garbage can. And bike racks. And paved connection to the city street network.
Look at this site:
Lovely park, eh? Very inviting. Actually, it’s a
sewer treatment plant conservation park, complete with sewer lagoons. All very tasteful.
Once politicians get familiar with the idea of visible sewers, we’ll see a lot more of them. I can’t wait.