Sprawl and Sewers

Sewage issues in Ottawa are bringing attention to the significant infrastructure problems associated with sprawl.
September 1, 2008, 1pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The genesis of the infrastructure mess plaguing cities is not very complicated. Municipal politicians and planners allowed cities to get too big, to sprawl, creating long distances to extend infrastructure from the core.

In Ottawa, roads, electrical lines and water mains cover huge swaths of geography to serve a spread out, density-poor population.

So when the city gets lots of snow as it did last winter, the snow-plowing budget goes through the roof. When the roads get too long, the hotpatching budget for filling potholes gets larger and larger. When the cost of asphalt increases, so too does the hotpatching bill. Then the long roads need rebuilding or repaving.

In recent weeks, infrastructure anxieties in Ottawa have focused on our inadequate sewer systems, which after heavy rains end up fouling our beaches and the river from which residents in parts of Eastern Ontario and West Quebec get their drinking water."

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Published on Thursday, August 28, 2008 in The Ottawa Citizen
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