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Utilities Kingston reminds recreational water users: after heavy rains, check their online sewer overflow map

May 13, 2019 -

Kingston's waterfront is a clean, safe place to swim, fish or boat.  But, bacteria levels in lakes and rivers are higher up to 48 hours after a heavy rainfall and swimming is not recommended during that time. Sewer overflows can contribute to the problem. Utilities Kingston offers an online map that shows where sewer overflows have occurred in real time.

"We are proud to be transparent in helping residents make more informed decisions on recreational water use, as we continue to both reduce sewer overflows and openly share information," says Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston. "Water users can consider our real-time sewer overflow map before they swim at certain locations at Lake Ontario within 48 hours of a heavy rainfall."

When Kingstonians or visitors plan to swim, fish or boat in Lake Ontario within 48 hours after heavy rain, 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.

"KFL&A Public Health supports Utilities Kingston in their initiative to improve public notification of sewer overflows into recreational waters. This information is beneficial to the public's health and we're glad that it's being shared.  The sewer overflow map is a resource that should be considered after a heavy rain fall, before deciding to swim at Kingston's waterfront," said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health.

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.

In 2019, Utilities Kingston will complete infrastructure upgrades in the following areas, to separate combined sanitary and storm sewers and help reduce sewer overflows:

  • College Street (Union to Hill)
  • Napier Street (Hill to Earl)
  • Toronto Street (Earl to Johnson)
  • Frontenac Street (Earl to Johnson)

Additional resources available at www.UtilitiesKingston.com

  • View  a brief video animation about sewer overflows in Kingston
  • Learn about projects to reduce sewer overflows and see an animated map showing where Utilities Kingston has separated sewers since 2001
  • View frequently asked health and technical questions