Water Street trees chopped down for sewer project

A couple takes a nighttime walk down Water Street next to a number of locust trees in Cornwall, Ont. on Monday, June 25, 2018. The trees are being cut down to do a storm water-sewer separation project underneath the boulevard. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A group of thriving locust trees along a western section of Water Street have been levelled by the City of Cornwall in order to do underground water and sewer work.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Infrastructure General Manager John St. Marseille said the situation was unavoidable.

“It’s a combined sewer separation project. So we’re doing the water main and the sewer at the same time, so we have no choice but to take out some of the trees with that construction work,” St. Marseille said.

Separation involves having the storm water and sewage in two separate pipes instead of one which, in theory, should cut down on the amount of liquid processed by the waste water treatment plant.

There are about eight trees – mostly locust – in the section between Cumberland Street and Bedford Street and are 35-40 years old. The area is highly visible – a block from where travellers from the United States and Akwesasne enter the City of Cornwall.

St. Marseille said they would plan to plant more trees – maybe not as many as were there before. “We strategically reinstate trees. We do try to optimize the trees that we have to remove so we don’t take any more than is absolutely necessary.”

The parks and recreation department says the trees were in healthy condition.

There are approximately 400 city blocks of combined pipe carrying both storm water and sewage. St. Marseille said they are about a third of the way through separating them.

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