Update: resume normal water use this morning

Update: resume normal water use this morning

Update on June 7

Water use can return to normal this morning. Thank you for your assistance, Kingston! (Although it's always a good idea to conserve water use!)

Update at 7 PM

Our staff have the River Street Pumping Station back in operation. It will take some time for the system to return to normal and we ask that citizens in central Kingston continue to conserve water and reduce sewer use overnight.

Please do not wash dishes, do laundry or shower, etc. This will help reduce sewer overflows to the environment. Thank you for continued conservation efforts; it is making a difference. Staff will remain at the station overnight to monitor the situation.

Residents can plan to resume normal water use in the morning. An update will be shared on our website, and via Facebook and Twitter. As always, before you swim, fish or boat near an overflow location, check our real-time sewer overflow map for updates.


Utilities Kingston is asking citizens in City Central to conserve water and reduce sewer use after equipment failure at the River Street Pumping Station. Residents should also take steps to protect their basements from flooding.

“We are appealing to the public to conserve water and reduce sewer use to help reduce overflows and protect the environment,” says Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston. “All hands are on deck to assess the situation and then make repairs as quickly as possible. We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of this issue, as well as protecting personal property.” The affected area is in City Central, from the Cataraqui River, west to the Little Cataraqui Creek, and north to Highway 401. View a map of the affected area.

Sewage is currently being directed away from the station and is being collected in a storage tank, just upstream of the River Street Pump Station, in Emma Martin Park. This large tank has a ~12,000 cubic metre capacity. Sewage is partially-treated by the tank, via settling and screening.

The tank has exceeded capacity, and partially treated sewage is overflowing. While Utilities Kingston is taking steps to prevent environmental impacts, the utility is appealing to the public to help reduce the impact. 

The public can be assured - the quality of drinking water has not been affected, and the water is safe to drink. 

Steps to reduce water and sewer use:

  • Use cottage rules for flushing
  • Wait to shower, wash clothes or run the dishwasher until this issue is repaired to lessen the burden on the sanitary system.
  • Delay washing cars
  • Every little bit helps: for example, you can turn off the water when you shave or brush your teeth.

 Protect your basement from flooding:

Know what to do if your basement has flooded: Entering a wet basement could be hazardous! https://utilitieskingston.com/Wastewater/BasementFlooding/Flooded

Sewer overflows 

Combined sewer overflows (CSO) locations are now overflowing. The CSO were intentionally built into the system to help protect basements from flooding.

With sewers overflowing to local water bodies, before you swim, fish or boat near an overflow location, check our real-time sewer overflow map for updates.


During normal operation, force mains carry sewage from the River Street Pumping Station to a valve chamber on the east shoreline, up Barriefield Hill to the Ravensview Wastewater Treatment Facility, where wastewater is treated and released to Lake Ontario in the form of natural resource quality water.

Officials from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks were also on site.