Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin | 12 November : 13

Photo is from Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Green infrastructure to help protect
Sudbury drinking water

Stormwater run-off is a threat to Sudbury’s drinking water, and the recently approved Source Water Protection Plan directs the city to take measures to address water-borne contamination.

The tragedy that took place in Walkerton, Ontario in the year 2000, in which seven people died due to E. coli contaminated water, brought drinking water safety to the front of everyone’s minds. As a result, the Clean Water Act was passed in 2006. Fourteen years after the tragedy, Source Water Protection Plans are being approved for implementation across the province.

Sudbury’s plan, approved in September, prescribes a sewer use bylaw (as seen in Toronto and elsewhere) and development policies that reduce stormwater runoff and pollutant loadings in vulnerable areas. Policies must emphasize a treatment train approach that favours management as close to the source as possible.

“Ramsey Lake, in downtown Sudbury, is a drinking water source which is in a built-up part of the city and is also highly valued for its recreational uses,” says Judy Sewell, Project Coordinator with Conservation Sudbury. Although there is not a lot of data on stormwater quality, having pipes discharge directly to the lake is not desirable. A preventive approach is needed, which is why innovative stormwater management solutions were recommended in the plan, according to Sewell.

(Click here to find out more about protecting Sudbury's drinking water... )

POLL: Does your community's sourcewater protection plan address stormwater?

Contribute to the bulletin!

Let us know if you have a green infrastructure project or story that should be featured in the blog, a news item you'd like to share, or an event that Umbrella subscribers would be interested in. Email us or contribute to the thread in The Umbrella.

Latest news

Resolution for LID. On the strength of the excellent performance by Credit Valley Conservation's Low Impact Development (LID) projects during last year's July 8 storm, Mississauga has adopted a resolution that requires the Transportation and Works Department to consider the feasibility of LID as part of their business planning and budget process for any road work.

Pilot project proves its worth. Since completion of Kansas City, Missouri's 100-acre green infrastructure pilot project in 2012, the city has seen significant runoff reduction and peak flows down by 76%. City officials see a future with dramatically reduced sewer overflows, beautiful and functional green infrastructure elements, communities with better infrastructure, and enhanced water quality.

Milwaukee's Fresh Coast is a green scene. A combination of grey and green infrastructure has helped Milwaukee reduce its annual combined sewer overflows from 60 to 3. While many industries have left the area, green infrastructure is seen as a great new opportunity for job creation.

Rain gardens will treat street runoff in Ottawa. Three curbside rain gardens will be tested for performance in Ottawa's climate, starting next spring. If the pilot project proves to be successful, the city will look at other urban areas which could benefit from this type of retrofit. Aging streets, which were developed without proper storm water management, are a priority.

New York goes all in to soak up the rain. New York City has embarked on a roughly 20-year, $2.4 billion project intended to protect local waterways, relying in large measure on “curbside gardens” that capture and retain storm-water runoff. Once completed, New York City’s gardens are expected to capture more than 200 million gallons of storm water each year.


Sustainability in the City of Baltimore. 13 November, 2014. Webinar. 2-3pm EST. Learn how this coastal city used community engagement to drive a number of sustainability measures forward.

Latornell Conservation Symposium. 18-20 November, 2014. Alliston, ON. Symposium theme: Growth and Transformation.

Legal responsibilities and risk management in a changing climate. 28 November, 2014. 12-1pm EST. Webinar. Laura Zizzo discusses municipal liability related to stormwater management, with Canadian case studies. Register here.

The Umbrella is an online community designed for knowledge-sharing about green stormwater infrastructure. Its members are municipal stormwater professionals, policymakers, academics, engineers, conservation authorities, nonprofits, and interested community members. The Umbrella is managed by Green Communities Canada. Submit an item for an upcoming issue or provide feedback on the bulletin.

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