For decades, Halifax has sent tons of raw sewage into its harbour, one of the world’s largest. But now, the city is taking major steps to clean it up. Three new plants and an effluent collection system, built at a cost of $333 million, will treat waste and storm water before it flows into the harbour. With one plant now in use, “it’s an investment that is already paying dividends in terms of water quality,” says Carl Yates, general manager of Halifax Water.
And in water conservation, Halifax has become a North American leader. Halifax Water has a world-class water-loss control system that has reduced leakage of clean, treated water by 35 million litres per day. The principle is simple: “Find the leak early, when it’s small, and fix it,” says Yates. Halifax Water split its vast distribution network into 68 district metered areas and installed technology that provides data from each zone every minute of the day—meaning that every drop is accounted for.
It’s also the first municipality in Canada to have a regulated, fully combined water, waste water and storm water utility, managing the entire urban water cycle. The utility is planning for the future, says Yates: “We are looking after our grandchildren as much as we are our children.”
Photo courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage.
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