"Ex-mayor of Nepean blames amalgamation"

 


 

City probes new report of sewage backup

More than 200 homes in Nepean were hit; ex-mayor blames amalgamation

Vito Pilieci
The Ottawa Citizen

September 17, 2004

   CREDIT: Jean Levac, The Ottawa Citizen

Former Nepean mayor Mary Pitt says she's  been out of her home since last week, while it is cleaned and sanitized.

 

A city investigation is now under way to determine why almost 200 homes in Nepean experienced heavy flooding in their basements as a result of last week's record rainfall.

According to Rick Chiarelli, councillor for the ward, many people in the Belair Heights, Cityview and Summer Pointe areas of Nepean saw sewage back-up and flood into their basements, causing several thousands of dollars worth of damage.

The 200 homes in Nepean are in addition to more than 40 homes in Kanata that saw raw sewage flood into their basements last week -- some of the homes got more than a metre's worth -- ruining many of their possessions. Another city inquest is also underway to determine who is responsible for the cause of that flood.

Back in Nepean, the former municipality's mayor Mary Pitt, was one of those affected by last week's backup. She said she came home to find nearly a metre of raw sewage in her basement.

 
 
...According to Ms. Pitt, she has already heard from people at the city who told her maintenance schedules for the sewers around Merivale Road have been neglected.

She said amalgamating the city of Ottawa with its surrounding municipalities is to blame. Instead of saving money, amalgamation has brought higher costs and fewer services, she said.

"In the former city of Nepean, we looked after our sewers very well. They were cleaned on a very regular basis. And along Merivale, where there are a lot of restaurants and a lot of grease flowing through, they were cleaned on a monthly basis," she said.

"I have heard from people that know about this that say Merivale Road doesn't get cleaned like that anymore and that our sewers don't get cleaned because they have cut back on the budget."

 

 
 

"It ruined everything," she said. "All of the toilets backed up. I was told it was like geysers."

Ms. Pitt has had to relocate to the Travelodge on Carling Avenue while crews scrub down and sanitize her home. She said many of her neighbours have also moved out of their homes while a cleanup is being conducted.

Everything the sewage touched must be thrown out she said.

"My tile floor had to be ripped up. They are taking down the wall panels, the furnace, the hot water tank, fridge, washer, dryer, vanity, toilet and three clothing closets," said Ms. Pitt. "I have lived here for 38 years ... and I have never had any water in my basement."

She said she believes she has as much as $40,000 in damages due to the flooding.

The city is now investigating whether the sewage back-up was the result of inappropriate maintenance on city sewers. Some of the areas affected are older areas of Nepean, where maintenance of Ottawa sewage pipes may have been neglected.

"I want to make sure that we find out if maintenance had anything to do with it," said Mr. Chiarelli. He said if it turns out that maintenance of these sewage pipes was an issue then the city would most likely be liable to pay for some of the damages caused by the flooding.

"That would be on the list of options for sure," Mr. Chiarelli said.

But, according to Ms. Pitt, she has already heard from people at the city who told her maintenance schedules for the sewers around Merivale Road have been neglected.

She said amalgamating the city of Ottawa with its surrounding municipalities is to blame. Instead of saving money, amalgamation has brought higher costs and fewer services, she said.

"In the former city of Nepean, we looked after our sewers very well. They were cleaned on a very regular basis. And along Merivale, where there are a lot of restaurants and a lot of grease flowing through, they were cleaned on a monthly basis," she said.

"I have heard from people that know about this that say Merivale Road doesn't get cleaned like that anymore and that our sewers don't get cleaned because they have cut back on the budget."

Mr. Chiarelli said he would not speculate on the cause of the flooding and would wait until a detailed report has been finished by city officials. He said the report should be ready shortly.

 

 The Ottawa Citizen 2004

 

 

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