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Government Funding Supports a Cleaner and Healthier Ottawa River

Archived News Release

Government Funding Supports a Cleaner and Healthier Ottawa River

Project Will Help Protect the Environment, Prevent Floods

Ministry of Infrastructure

Infrastructure investments are vital to creating jobs, strengthening the middle class and building more inclusive and healthy communities where families can work, learn and play. The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) project will help protect the environment, prevent floods, and ensure that middle class Canadians and their families can enjoy recreational activities like swimming and kayaking on a cleaner and healthier Ottawa River.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean, and his Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, announced that more than $232 million in government funding will go to the CSST project. The Honourable Andrew Leslie, Chief Government Whip and Member of Parliament for Orléans, also participated in the announcement.

The project will include the construction of two tunnels: an east-west tunnel through the downtown core from LeBreton Flats to New Edinburgh Park, and a north-south tunnel along Kent Street from Catherine Street to existing infrastructure, just behind the Supreme Court of Canada. This project will greatly reduce the frequency of sewage overflows into the Ottawa River during storms, reduce the risk of basement flooding for several low-lying lands in the Glebe/O'Connor area, and increase operational flexibility and redundancy to major collector sewers. Once rainfall has subsided, this water will be treated and returned safely to the Ottawa River.

Construction has already begun on the CSST project, the largest portion of the Ottawa River Action Plan, to help ensure that the Ottawa River is sustainable into the future. Today's investment demonstrates a clear commitment to investing in local infrastructure projects that will ensure Canadians have access to a healthy local environment and reliable public services for years to come. The governments of Canada and Ontario are each providing $62.09 million. In addition, the City of Ottawa has committed $107 million. 

Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province's history - about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province, with projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit. Since 2015, the province has announced support for more than 475 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life. To learn more about infrastructure projects in your community, go to Ontario.ca/BuildON.

Investing in priority infrastructure is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • The CSST will hold up to 43,000m3 of sewer overflow during major rainfalls, the equivalent capacity of approximately 18 Olympic-sized pools.
  • In February 2010, Ottawa City Council approved the Ottawa River Action Plan, a collection of 17 projects aimed at improving the health of the Ottawa River and funded in part by the Ottawa River Fund, a cost-sharing program with the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada.
  • Completion of the project is anticipated in late 2019 with the intent of having the CSST in full operation by mid-2020.
  • Portions of the project are located on lands contributed by the National Capital Commission.
  • Dragados Tomlinson has been selected as the construction team building the project.

Additional Resources


“Our government is committed to building Ontario up, while ensuring our communities thrive today and for generations to come. This project will make the Ottawa River safer and healthier, improve the environmental sustainability of the surrounding community and generate economic activity in the Ottawa area, all while creating local jobs.”

Bob Chiarelli

Ontario Minister of Infrastructure

“Infrastructure is the foundation of the Canada we want to build for tomorrow. The Government of Canada recognizes that we need a solid partnership with all orders of government to support infrastructure and create good, well-paying jobs that can help the middle class grow and prosper today. We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Ontario for clean water and wastewater so that Ontario communities can address their specific infrastructure priorities, while helping grow the middle class with good, well-paying jobs.”

Catherine McKenna

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel is one of the most important projects of the Ottawa River Action Plan, which is the City of Ottawa’s roadmap for protecting the health and vitality of the Ottawa River for present and future generations. Federal and Provincial funding for the CSST project demonstrates a vote of confidence in our Council’s commitment to protecting our local environment, including one of our most precious resources, our water.”

Jim Watson

Mayor of Ottawa

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