River Street Pumping Station: operations stable and water use can return to normal

June 07, 2019

River Street Pumping Station: operations stable and water use can return to normal

Utilities Kingston has pumped all sewage out of the River Street Pumping Station and operations are stable for all three pumps. Water use can return to normal levels.

“Our sincere thanks to the Kingston community for your support in reducing water and sewer use, to help reduce the risk to basements and the environment. It was amazing to see businesses, residents and organizations rallying together to assist,” says Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston. “We apologize for the inconvenience this issue created for our customers and assure everyone that the system is now stable and normal water use can continue.”

The issue was created when a large sewer pipe within the station failed and sewage backed up, filling the pump gallery with sewage. The system is designed to overflow at certain locations to protect basements from flooding. Multiple locations overflowed, including at Emma Martin Park (at River Street Pumping Station). As always, before you swim, fish or boat near an overflow location, check our real-time sewer overflow map for updates.

The sewer collection system has responded positively and overflows ceased at all locations before midnight on June 6. “Quick action by Utilities Kingston’s staff helped to reduce further impacts and restore the system back to stable operations,” says Keech.

We called in contracted resources to help pump sewage from the station and transport it to Ravensview Wastewater Treatment Facility. Staff walked the shorelines of the Cataraqui River and Lake Ontario to complete a documented inspection. The overflow was reported to the Spills Action Centre and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks was on site.

“This station is critical to our system as it pumps sewage from the entire City Central system across the Cataraqui River to be treated at Ravensview. There are many redundancies built into the station, including pumps, pipes and monitoring equipment. A failure such as this one is highly unlikely. We will complete a thorough investigation of the cause. I can confirm with confidence that station operations are stable,” says Keech.

Staff are working to reinstate the station to fully automated mode and remain onsite to monitor.

Utilities Kingston and the City of Kingston continue to improve infrastructure to reduce sewer overflows. Over the last twenty years, they have been working to separate Kingston’s historic combined sewer system and install large holding tanks to reduce overflows and rainwater that enters the sanitary system. These activities help reduce the sewer overflows associated with heavy rainfalls and equipment failure.

When Kingstonians or visitors plan to swim, fish or boat in Lake Ontario within 48 hours after heavy rain or equipment failure, they are encouraged to first check the map at www.UtilitiesKingston.com/Overflows.  Sewer overflow locations affecting the Great Cataraqui River, the Little Cataraqui Creek, and other surrounding bodies of water are also shown.

Forcemains 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.