After a particularly heavy rainfall recently, more than 15 million liters of raw sewage spilled into the Ottawa River. This isn't the first time the Canadian city of Ottawa has witnessed a sewer leak – Ottawa has been hit with three sewage spills caused by heavy rains so far this year. Although the sewer leak doesn't affect the drinking water, the recent spill occurred while the city is celebrating its "Drinking Water Week," according to CNews.
Ottawa has been in the media several times for similar situations, according to Canada's EnviroLaw.com. In 2008, the city was fined $562,000 for failing to report sewage that had discharged into the Ottawa River, making it one of the highest environmental fines to ever be placed on a Canadian municipality. The offenses were filed under the Ontario Water Resources Act.
According to EnviroLaw, the Ministry of the Environment mandates that the city's sewage lines are built to overflow into the river during heavy storms, however, the gates are supposed to close as the rainfall slows. At some point between August 1 and August 15, one of the gates became jammed open, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into the river before officials noticed the problem and fixed the gate, according to EnviroLaw.