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Why does so much filth pour out of Toronto sewer outfalls?   Hundreds of the outfalls, which should only carry rainwater and perhaps noncontact cooling water, run even in dry weather. Toronto’s water department has identified 53 priority outfalls, places where the “water” pouring into our creeks is particularly dirty.

Toronto Water staff have finally got serious about the issue, as part of their generally more methodical and determined approach to sewer bylaw enforcement. Last year, despite the long municipal strike and wet weather, Toronto Water found 315 cross connections, places where sanitary sewers can empty into creeks. 312 of these were corrected last year, allowing them to “de-list” 17 of the priority outfalls. The city also successfully prosecuted four companies last year for sewer discharges, including its first conviction of an industry that failed to submit a pollution prevention plan, and is starting to exchange information more methodically with the Ministry of the Environment.

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