Atikokan water

Receiving about 68 mm of rain in less than 12 hours Monday night was more than the Atikokan drainage sewers could handle–causing many basements there to flood.
“Over 50 would be my estimation right now but I really don’t have a clue,” noted Peter Kerr, director of operations for Atikokan.
“Just a whole lot of rain came down early this morning,” he noted Tuesday. “I can’t tell you how much [but] the flow just inundated our sewer system so we’ve had quite a number of sewer back-ups.”
“We’ve been corresponding with OCWA to do whatever we can.” “We had a terrible downpour and our basements have flooded and we’re not happy about it,” noted Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown, who noted that $7 million has been spent by the town and the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) since a similar flood in 1996.
Residents expected those improvements to preventing the wet basements they woke up to Tuesday morning.
“Since then, we’ve been working with OCWA to restore our sewage system, spending $7 million, so I was surprised when this happened,” said Mayor Brown.
Ironically, about 30 OCWA staff members were able to witness the problem firsthand as they had been gathered in Atikokan for an annual training session.
Mayor Brown confronted the OCWA reps with the problem yesterday afternoon.
“The way I understand it, everything was working fine, it was just such a downpour the drainage sewers couldn’t handle the volume,” he said.
“They said we’re gradually updating our sewer system and in two years, a downpour like this won’t [do] anything,” he added.
Water has since gone down in the affected homes as crews use pumps to get the system under control.
“Right now we’re into the clean-up phase,” said Kerr. “The system itself has now been able to handle the water since about noon.”
Although a substantial downpour totalling 23 mm also hit Fort Frances on Monday night, the town did not suffer any damage.
“None whatsoever, it was just wet. [The rain] didn’t cause any problems anywhere,” noted Super-intendent of Operations Raymond Roy.