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2012-06-07 at 13:36

Revisiting restrictions

By Jamie Smith,
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Even with rain in the weekend forecast, the city is hoping Monday will bring some good news as crews continue to deal with a flooded treatment plant.

There are currently two pumps operating at the Atlantic Avenue treatment plant. Another one is expected to be installed over the weekend, one is in the shop and the final pump and motor are being prepared to be pulled out of the plant Thursday.

The two pumps currently online are working well, said infrastructure manager Darrell Matson.

“We have enough capacity to treat more than what is currently coming into the plant so again the trunk sewers continue to be reduced to their normal operating level,” he added Thursday morning.

If the forecasted rain is not intense, the city will be revisiting its water restrictions Monday. It would also reconsider opening places like the Canada Games Complex. Heavy rain though is still a concern for the plant.

“If we have little bits of rain over a long period of time we don’t think that’s going to pose a problem. If we have big thundershowers and a major deluge of water in a short period of time that’s where our biggest issues would be,” Matson said.

Data shows that people have been reducing the amount of water being sent down drains. From a week before the flood to the week after, Matson said there are days where people have reduced the amount of water by six megalitres.

“There is definitely a week over week or day over day reduction,” he said.

While those numbers are reduced, the Red Cross is expecting an increase in the amount of people looking for shelter at Lakehead University.

There are currently 31 beds being used at the school. Spokesman David St. Georges said a lot of seniors who have registered are now willing to take advantage of the shelter.

Red Cross numbers show that more than 5,600 man hours have been put in by 124 volunteers so far.

“This is one of the largest volunteer operations in regards to response in one city we’ve had in a few years,” St. Georges said.

Around 460 people have requested help from the city’s safe home program to clean up basements. While 80 homes have been cleaned so far, with another 40 expected Thursday, the city is still having trouble reaching some homeowners who initially contacted the city for assistance.

The city is still waiting to hear from the province on whether Thunder Bay, Oliver-Paipoonge and Conmee will be declared disaster areas.

The municipalities have submitted applications and an answer is expected Friday. The declaration would make the municipalities eligible for funding to help pay for programs like the safe homes initiative and other clean up and damage.

City manager Tim Commisso said the city is confident a disaster will be declared. Getting funding another way should the province not declare the area a disaster hasn’t been decided.

“We expect with the scope and scale of this disaster that we will be declared,” Commisso said.

“If we thought anything different we’d have another plan but at the same time we’re moving forward on the basis that we will be declared.”

Mayor Keith Hobbs agreed. He thanked everyone in the city’s effort so far.

“Monday hopefully we’ll have some good news for you. We’re going to pray that we don’t get that rain this weekend that’s going to make things a lot better,” he said.


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i76 says:
I hope the city realizes the sacrifices people are making and gives them a reduction on their water bills!
6/7/2012 2:09:57 PM
advocate says:
Reducing water consumption will reduce your water bill.
6/7/2012 2:21:09 PM
fluffy says:
You get ripped about 58.8 cents a day on your water bill even if you are out of town and use no water. On top of that you pay 75% of that "fixed" fee which is a "sewer" charge. So basically you are flushing your cash down the toilet. But as we can see lately the city took our cash and sent something else back at us via the toilet.
6/8/2012 8:53:51 AM
yer joking says:
Who exactly is this "city" that is mentioned so often?
6/8/2012 1:41:40 PM
taralee8601 says:
@ i76.........comment from city would be ....your water bill is already reduced because you never used that much water so your bill is already lower ....i bet thats what they would say .........

now hydro ....lets see a reduction there i doubt it ive had fans running for 1 week straight im a goner....
6/7/2012 2:24:29 PM
Sui Generis says:
You and me both. Not looking forward to that.
6/7/2012 2:47:13 PM
big joe mufferaw says:
If we renamed the city "Toronto North", we would have been declared a disaster area last week and someone would have called in the army.
6/7/2012 3:23:10 PM
stonecutter says:
I also would like to see Hydro cut a break for some people. a lot of heaters and fans running non-stop. Some hydro bills will be quite ugly.
6/7/2012 3:42:10 PM
get_the_chip_off_your_shoulder says:
I think hydro bills should be altered to reflect OFF PEAK time rates for the entirety of the bill from the start of the flood to when things are dried up in basements. You can't easily provide this to just those who got flooding so just give it to anyone on tbay hydro as many in the community who were not affected did give and help those in need so we all took a hit in one way or another. Just give the hydro for the OFF PEAK time. that simple and once things are fixed and basements dried out reinstate the normal time of day rates. Sump pumps running nonstop, fans to dry out moisture etc cost money to run during peak hours especially.
6/7/2012 4:49:55 PM
wayne says:
I believe the City advised people affected by the flooding to keep their hydro bills for reimbursement. Not sure though.
6/7/2012 5:06:13 PM
Bool says:

Well if our train station would have flooded you have a great point! It was a sewage treatment plant. There is a great letter to the editor in the news paper stating how the city reacted and all thing considered they have done a pretty good job as have the residence of this city providing help. Not everything is perfect but in any natural disaster there will be oversights and mistaken people are working in haste.
6/7/2012 5:14:11 PM
tired_fedup says:
City keeps having these press updates but where is the community meeting they promised to have? Tuesday came and went....
Paul Pugh still hasn't held a ward meeting, either.
6/7/2012 7:10:11 PM
hopper says:
Yup, hundreds of people answered unanimously "Tuesday!" when Commisso asked when we wanted the next meeting, and he said okay. Hasn't happened, neither has Pugh's, you're right.
On another note, it was mentioned that the Red Cross is handing out Walmart gift cards to the uninsured? THAT gets me, because Walmart did NOTHING to help.........not just that but they flat out REFUSED. On the other hand, Real Canadian Superstore was UNBELIEVABLY generous: Not only did they have a sign listing needed items in their entranceway and fundraising all week, they also CALLED us every single night last week asking what did we need, what could they do, anything else we needed to just give a call..and by us I am talking those of us who put on the free barbecues..they donated buns, ketchup and condiments, hot dogs, napkins, picnic items, you name it! Why not give back to the companies who went out of their way to help??!?!?!?!? They were fantastic!!!!!
6/7/2012 8:44:16 PM
Sui Generis says:
I get your point, but honestly, clothing vouchers at Superstore wouldn't do anyone much good. I'm one of those that received a voucher from the red cross to go and get my kids clothing. Walmart offers the best selection at the lowest prices, so I was able to come home with enough to see them through the summer, thanks to some great sales.

Superstore would have been a better choice for grocery vouchers, but for the clothing, it wouldn't have made any sense at all.
6/8/2012 10:27:43 AM
notherngrrl says:
Ohhh I think I know who you are! :)
And I agree, Superstore was a fabulous donator during this crisis, they gave and gave and gave. No I don't work for them lol but they did go out of their way.
I encouraged my parents to vote for Pugh because I couldn't (I live in a different area) but now I feel like a jerk for doing it. Where is he?
6/8/2012 10:55:09 AM
tsb says:
If I recall correctly, councillors are only allowed two ward meetings a year. They don't get funding for anything more than that.
6/7/2012 10:28:48 PM
hopper says:
So he comes down to the parking lot at St Peter's or the baseball diamond at Charry Park, the Slovak Legion has been AMAZING and I'm sure would have donated their space for the people to ask questions and get answers. Pugh hasn't even addressed his affected constituents. Dude is losing his seat next election, guaranteed.
6/8/2012 10:25:16 AM
cob says:
They say they " have enough capacity to treat more than what is currently coming into the plant" which should mean that they are treating the sewage. If, as can be inferred from the previous "news releases" the lower level of the treatment plant is/was flooded, how can this be? There would be no power for your sludge pumps, digesters, etc. I think the wording should have been that there is enough capacity to pump, not treat. WILL SOMEONE FROM THE MEDIA PLEASE ASK FOR CLARIFICATION? WILL THE CITY PLEASE EXPLAIN THE EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM? Just because the pumping crisis is over does not mean the plant is back to normal. The public should know if raw sewage is being released to the Kam River without receiving primary or secondary treatment. UV disinfection is not effective on raw sewage.
6/7/2012 9:11:55 PM
hardrawkin says:
shouldn't there be 2 pumps to handle the full capacity and 2 as back up. So if 2 are running they should be at normal capacity?
Maybe they need the extra 2 running because the lake is pouring into the plant?
6/7/2012 9:51:21 PM
crankypants says:
its like the same news story re-written every day.
6/7/2012 10:01:53 PM
commonsense says:
So, the City is concerned if we have another big rainfall. How much is being done to remove rainwater from the sanitary sewer system?
"In a perfect world", or a brand-new city,wouldn't the storm and sanitary sewer systems be two seperate entities? What progress is our city making to reduce the amount of storm water runoff that enters the sanitary sewer system?
We need to know more about this and understand the situation better.
6/8/2012 8:33:55 AM
Pandora says:
Excellent questions 'commonsense'.

The city has admitted to underfunding infrastructure.
We know that there is 300 Million dollars needed to upgrade water and sewer so what have we done and what are we planning on doing about it.
It has been said before that this city needs to get its priorities in order.
6/8/2012 10:37:46 AM
springsteenfan says:
I'd love to see another open session of Q&A like we were promised so we can ask these questions and get answers. The city is hiding something or they'd have that meeting we were promised!
6/8/2012 2:27:50 PM
nursegreen says:
Every day that passes without the information session Tim Commisso agreed to makes me wonder what the city is hiding. ANd I was one of the ones who kept saying give them the benefit of the doubt, but it's true, if they have nothing to hide where are they? Where are the third parties who can stand up and say it was an act of nature and not the city's fault?

I live in an area where we all have our own septic systems but I feel terribly for the people who are endangered and put out of their homes and losing thousands of dollars.

Nothing wrong at all with demanding answers from elected city officials, people!
6/8/2012 2:38:59 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
The threat of this law suit will stop the flow of information...even IF the city were considering accepting some level of blame for this issue, it will not and can not now. I suspect council have or will put in place some sort of gag order to protect itself from the ambulance chasers. The lawyers say why wait? That is just to ensure them of a big pay day...A lawsuit should only have been initiated if the city failed in the near future to deal equitably with the people affected....
6/8/2012 6:38:04 PM
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