According to Environment Canada just over 50 millimetres of rain fell on much of Hamilton. Dundas got even more with a record breaking 70 millimetres creating an unprecedented stress test on the city’s ability to handle it.
“The infrastructure was working as intended at our waste water treatment plants. They are only designed to carry a certain amount of flow and once we go beyond that we’re at the beck and call of the environment to do what we can.” Andrew Grice, City of Hamilton.
Dan McKinnon, General Manager of Public Works says as the climate changes and the city continues to grow, the city is reviewing its ageing infrastructure.
“Currently the city is undertaking a flooding and drainage master plan for the combined sewer shed which is generally the area bounded by the 403, the Red Hill parkway, everything north of Mohawk road and to the harbour front that’s the area most vulnerable to wet weather because of the combine sewer system.”
The escarpment is also unique and poses challenges for the city when it comes to storm management.
A record breaking amount of rain fell in Dundas, 72.4 mm fell in 12 hours. To put that in perspective, normally the town gets about 73 mm for the entire month of April.
McKinnon says they’ve spent about $100 million on storm water improvements over the past 12-14 years but more is needed. Drinking water, waste water and storm water are grouped together which means council has to decide what is the priority when it comes to spending capitol.