Since the beginning of May, Ottawa Riverkeeper has been spearheading a letter-writing campaign, encouraging people from Ottawa and Gatineau to ask their mayors for real-time reporting of sewage overflows. To date, over 3,000 concerned citizens have done so, saying they want to know when raw sewage is released into their river. We’re inspired by these numbers and excited to see them still growing.
This issue also goes beyond our letter-writing campaign. After 5 years of research and collaboration with the Friends of Brewery Creek, we released a report on water quality in the Ottawa River that has garnered extensive media coverage, including on Sur le vif, and TVA Gatineau. This report, funded by individual donors like you, gave us a comprehensive view of the issue and enabled us to push for change. We have also been active in Quebec’s municipal election, holding candidates accountable and pushing them to make concrete promises to deal with the issue.
But there is still work to be done. Even as recently as this week, record rainfall caused more than half a BILLION litres of combined sewage to overflow into the Ottawa River – the largest amount this year. These numbers are from the city of Ottawa, and the city of Gatineau doesn’t publicly report their numbers (which is a problem).
While we have seen some promising progress on this file, we will continue to work on it to increase transparency and ultimately end these overflows. Those who haven’t written still have the opportunity to do so at www.wewanttoknow.ca.