This month’s issue of Water Canada has some good news about what has been done to cut the flow of untreated sewage into the Great Lakes over the last 40 years. “Curbing the Flow” chronicles the steps that have been taken to slash raw and combined sewer overflows in four Canadian and six American cities, two per Great Lake. Rochester, for example, has reduced its sewer overflows by 80% since 1993.
The article acknowledges that “municipalities [on both sides of the border] have worked hard to address their sewage woes despite the steep financial costs and ongoing challenges presented by growth and climate change”. But it also quotes Nicola Crawhall, deputy director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, taking a rather grim look at what is ahead:
“Climate change turns on its head everything we’ve been trying to do… Building big enough infrastructure and capacities to treat the water and reduce combined sewer overflows. All of that was well and good, but now we’re looking at another problem of a very different magnitude.”