‘Ottawa’ Residents Concerned after Richmond Pumping Station Overwhelmed by Rain
Residents in the village of Richmond are concerned that raw sewage is being dumped into the Jock River after a pumping station was overwhelmed by high volumes of rain.
The city has installed a bypass pipe from the pumping station to the Jock River to help relieve some of the flows at the Richmond pumping station, said Kevin Wylie, the city’s general manager of public works and environmental services, in response to a request for information.
“Our crews are continuously monitoring the situation and will stop the temporary pumping setup as soon as the water levels become more manageable. Every effort will be made to minimize the overflow volume to the Jock River.”
Asked if there is cause for concern, Wylie said this is the “designed operation” for a backup when there is a problem.
“We are only bypassing what we have to and the pumping station is still operational. There is therefore no need for concern at this time.”
The pumping station and its ability to deal with new development has pitted residents who live near the station against the city for years. About 20 years ago, the former Ottawa-Carleton regional government decided to install the 11-kilometre, $30-million pipeline through Richmond to Ottawa to solve a sewage problem in the village of Munster. The pumping station became operational in 2005.
Bruce Webster, who lived across from the pumping station, raised concerns in 2004, saying he feared the pipeline would contaminate household wells. He later reported smells coming from the pumping station. In 2007, the province fined the city $65,000 for an odour-related offence. Webster has since moved away.
Doug Arnold lives on Cockburn Street, a few houses away from the station. He said there have not been any springtime problems in recent years — until now. He believes that part of the problem is that sump water is being pumped into the sewer.
“It’s a sad situation,” he said. “They should have known they were getting near capacity.”
Rideau Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt said the situation isn’t ideal, but a failure of the system is much more concerning than the need for the bypass.
“This is likely similar to the combined sewer overflows we would see in the city,” he said. “Thankfully, we are in the midst of an upgrade to the force main in Richmond and the pumping station will be upgraded in the near future as well to accommodate future growth. This should help prevent situations like this in the future.”