Champlain council approved a plan to solve the sewage back-ups occurring at residences on River Lane in L’Orignal. At its most recent regular meeting on September 28, council reviewed a Public Works report which included suggestions to solve homeowners’ problems, which date back to 2014. A key part of the solution is to lower the overflow threshold of the sanitary sewers, meaning that when there are excessive rains, a lower overflow elevation would release effluent from the sanitary sewer system sooner and prevent this material from backing up into the basements of River Lane homes. A revised elevation overflow of 44.65 meters from the current 46.5-meter level would have resulted in only one overflow event in 2023. Under current Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) legislation there is a 10% limit for unprocessed, raw sewage diverted to the Ottawa River. Figures contained in the Public Works report indicate that the L’Orignal wastewater treatment plant untreated waste overflows is far from that level. Since 2018, the plant has released less than one per cent of its total effluence as untreated material into the Ottawa River. Changing the overflow elevation will require an application to the MECP and approval, which could take three to four months. The cost for the engineering study already completed and the overflow modification work adds up to $10,700. Public Works Director Sebastien Levesque told council that in his opinion, this was a reasonable cost considering the heartache the sewage back-ups had caused for River Lane residents. But the township has a longer-ranging problem to address and that is to eliminate infiltration into the sanitary sewer system. This means that storm water (rainfall, sump pump outputs, etc) are making their way into the sanitary sewer system and this water does not need to be treated by the wastewater treatment plant. It is also creating huge sanitary sewer flows during heavy rain events. A suggestion was to inspect L’Orignal homes when homeowners apply for building permits as a preliminary way to get an idea of the percentage of homes which have illegal connections to the sanitary sewers. But this isn’t a truly accurate take of assessing how many illegal connections there are. Councillor André Roy underlined the point, stating that not everyone is applying for a building permit. A $30,000 amount has been budgeted to prepare annual infiltration repairs. Notice would have to be given to homeowners before the chief building official could go in to inspect. It is estimated that 87 per cent infiltration (based on a June 2017 storm event), is sufficiently substantial in that it results in overprocessing with additional costs and limits future development.