Canadian Consulting Engineer

Toronto tunnel built to clean up western beaches

August 20, 2002
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

As Toronto sweltered under soaring 30+ degree temperatures this summer, at least the chances that citizens could sa...

As Toronto sweltered under soaring 30+ degree temperatures this summer, at least the chances that citizens could safely take a swim in Lake Ontario to cool off grew more likely. A major project to clean up Toronto’s lake shore was declared officially open at the beginning of August. The Western Beaches Tunnel was designed to reduce the discharge of untreated storm water and sewage into Lake Ontario. By late August E-coliform bacteria on most of the downtown beaches was low enough to allow swimming, though there had not been a major rain storm for many weeks to put the new system to the test.
The Western Beaches Tunnel was designed by consulting engineers Acres in a design-build team with the construction firm McNally Frontier Kemper.
The structure is a four-kilometre long tunnel that stores wastewater for at least 10 hours. The storage time allows solids such as dirt, leaves and pollutants that are contained in storm water and sewage to settle to the bottom of the tunnel, from where they can then be pumped to the Ashbridges Bay Treatment plant for treatment.
Liquids inthe tank are treated through ultraviolet disinfection to reduce the bacteria and then released into the lake. The $52 million project included a new pump station at Strachan Avenue.
The project was funded by the Canada/Ontario Infrastructure Works progam, which has announced several new projects in the works this August.
Announcements for new projects include upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant in Arnprior that supplies water to over 3,000 households. The upgrades are required to bring the system into compliance with the Ontario Drinking Water Protection Regulations, and will cost a total of $1.1 million. Another investment is in a new library for Richmond Hill, north of Toronto. The library will be 12,000 square feet adjacent to a new secondary school under construction in Richmond Green Park. Construction will start in the fall of 2004 as a joint project between the town, the Library Board and the School Board.
In Western Canada the Ministry of Indian Affairs and Northern Development announced it would support a $5 million sewer system to be built in the Westbank First Nation. The system will connect their Indian Reserve No. 10 lands to the Regional District of Central Okanagan sewer system in B.C. Infrastructure Canada is investing $1.6 million in the project.


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