York Region

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Expanded Outfall from the Duffins Creek Sewage Plant

Access the Regions' Phase 2 EA Draft Report HERE

The Duffins Creek sewage plant (illustrated at right, officially known as the York-Durham Water Pollution Control Plant) is located on the shores of Lake Ontario on the Pickering side of the Ajax-Pickering border. It is one of the largest in Canada. It is at the end of the 'Big Pipe' from York Region. It currently dumps about 340 million litres a day (mL/d) of effluent into the lake. 80% of this is from York Region. All waste receives secondary treatment which means that while it may look clean, it still contains a lot of nutrient chemicals. When testing reveals that phosphorus levels are too high, then and only then, does the plant apply tertiary chemical treatment to reduce the phosphorus to 'acceptable' levels.

For an explanation of sewage treatment, click here for an excellent slide show entitled 'Waste Water 101' prepared by York region, which explains the terminology and processes. It is quite a large file, so it may take a minute or so to load.

Update on the Duffin Creek Sewage Plant Outfall

February 21 - Joint meeting of Finance & Administration, Health & Social Services, Planning & Economic Development, and Works Committee

  • Regional Environmental Commissioner John Presta gave a PowerPoint presentation to Council about the Phase II report on the Outfall EA which showed a clear preference for 'duckbill diffusers' which would simply spread the effluent a little wider in order to achieve slightly better dilutions. The information presented made tertiary treatment appear very expensive with the highest carbon footprint. The report itself was not presented.
  • DC president Doug Anderson also made a 5 minute presentation dealing with the outfall and sewage in generalities. He indicated the preferred solution would be one which actually removed phosphorus, hence, tertiary treatment.
  • In spite of the sketchy information, the Joint Committee (virtually all members of Council) approved the report.

Subsequently, when the report was released, it became clear that the Powerpoint presentation had left out significant details, most important was the range of tertiary treatment options - including:

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