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Ontario Public Works Association Recognizes City of Guelph with Project of the Year Award

City honoured for emergency repair of damaged sewer at Howitt Creek

Guelph, Ont., May 17, 2022– The City of Guelph has been recognized with an Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) award for it’s emergency repair of a damaged sewer that threatened a local creek. The awards promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects in five categories and recognize collaboration between managing agencies or municipalities, consultants, and contractors who work together to complete public works projects.

The City was presented with the Project of the Year award for the Howitt Creek emergency sewer repair in the category of Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair under $2 million at an event on May 16.

“I congratulate our staff, consultants and contractors who worked together to repair the sewer and ensure the continued protection of the local environment,” says Kyle Gibson, manager, Technical Services. “We’re honoured to be recognized for such a creative solution that protected the nearby trees, park and trails, and Howitt Creek and the Speed River.”

About the winning project

Howitt Creek emergency sewer repair
Howitt Creek is a small waterway that runs through Howitt Park at the end of Inkerman Street in the Junction neighbourhood. The creek crosses below Wellington Street West and connects to the Speed River west of Roland Street in Silvercreek Park.

A sanitary (wastewater) sewer pipe built across Howitt Creek between Wellington Street and the Speed River in 1968 was being slowly eroded by natural creek flow. Catch basins and culverts intended to divert the creek’s flow under the sewer pipe were often blocked by leaf debris and sediment carried by the creek. The retaining wall on the west side of the sewer pipe crossing had also deteriorated and was creating an added risk of the pipe breaking. While the City closely monitored and repaired the structure over the years, the damage became severe enough that, without proper action, would have lead to a catastrophic pipe failure and wastewater from homes spilling into the creek.

The site was identified as an issue in late 2021, and in early 2022, the City worked with Aquafor Beech Limited to prepare an emergency repair design that was shared with the Grand River Conservation Authority and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to ensure plans wouldn’t affect natural creek flows or harm wildlife in and around the creek.

Before the repair work could begin, the creek was dammed with sand bags and fish were captured and relocated by professionals, then the construction area was drained of water.

Goetz Construction carried out the repair work in February and March 2022, which included going around the sanitary sewer so that sewage did not spill into the creek while the sewer was being encased in concrete. The site was then stabilized with large stone to prevent possible future erosion.

Work was completed in June 2022 after which the temporary dam was removed to restore the creek’s flow.

Media contact
Kyle Gibson
Manager, Technical Services
Engineering and Transportation Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2433


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