New Cornwall ditching highlighted at water expo

Swayle ditches, similar to these pictured in Seattle, Wash., will be added to a section of Seventh Street in Cornwall in 2015. (U.S. EPA Office of Water)

CORNWALL – One Cornwall neighbourhood could see new storm sewer technology next year as part of the city’s showcase of urban and rural water issues.

The City of Cornwall was one of 15 groups highlighting different services Thursday during the showcase at Cornwall Square.

In addition to the flood rebate program and water meters, Infrastructure General Manager John St. Marseille told Cornwall Newswatch about a project to add so-called “swayle ditches” on Seventh Street in 2015.

City of Cornwall Infrastructure GM John St. Marseille shows off a model illustrating how changes under the flood rebate program will improve water flow for the city and the homeowner. Flood rebate coordinator Tracy Gordon (right) watches the presentation. (Cornwall Newswatch)
City of Cornwall Infrastructure GM John St. Marseille shows off a model illustrating how changes under the flood rebate program will improve water flow for the city and the homeowner. Flood rebate coordinator Tracy Gordon (right) watches the presentation. (Cornwall Newswatch)

They are depressions next to a street with trees and grass that allow rainwater running off the street to soak in and being filtrated and cleaned before heading to the storm drain.

It also regulates the speed at which massive amounts of water enter the sewer.

St. Marseille says the bio-swayles, part of what’s called Low Impact Development, will add about $500,000 to the regular cost of reconstructing the street, which is already on the list of repairs next year.

However, St. Marseille says the savings will be offset by putting in smaller, and less costly, sewer pipes.

The infrastructure GM says there are safety mechanisms in place to let water directly into the sewer to prevent street flooding, should there be a huge rainfall in a short amount of time.

The St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences is working with the City of Cornwall on the streetscape design.

Better cooperation with water agencies

St. Lawrence River Institute spokesperson Karen Cooper says, while many agencies are working on different areas of water protection, there is more cooperation.

“I think that you see more grants…we apply together for grants these days and not being so…we’re not protecting our little corner of the world because we have to work together because the funding is less,” she said.

“We learn to play in this big pool of water together.”

The St. Lawrence River is even an international issue. “We are one of the few ‘areas of concern’ that is totally international. In fact, one of the more difficult in the country. So, we have the states and Akwesasne…so that’s three nations,” said Cooper.

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