Elbow-deep in sewage…and the City of Ottawa focuses on standardizing signs on farms!

Note:  many of my photos have not shown up in the post – only their titles appear.  I will try to figure out why – and how to fix it – but it may take me a while.  So, if you encounter a stray phrase that does not seem connected, it is likely a title of a photo that has failed to show up…my apologies!

If you believe City of Ottawa bureaucrats, Ottawa must have some of the longest lived people ever!

Not since Biblical times have ages this long been recorded – and in such large numbers.  There is a whole neoghbourhood in Ottawa’s west end where many, many residents have lived for over 3 centuries – and don’t even look it!

All right – here is the context:

Friday, July 24th, we had a bit of a storm.  OK – a big storm.  According to the City of Ottawa bureaucrats, it was a ‘once-in-a-century’ type storm:  and it is only due to the ‘once-in-a-century’ severity of the storm that the above-mentioned neighbourhood had flooding….

Now, since many of the residences in the Glen Cairn neighbourhood have been flooded with raw sewage like this 3 or 4 times – while the same people have lived there, it would appear that these folk ‘must’ be long-lived indeed!

What other explanation could there possibly be?  It could not be that the bureaucrats had started trying to cover their bottoms even before the sewage stopped flowing?!?!?

Oh, and they were also describing it as ‘rainwater runoff’ and the residents were told by the City’s health department that ‘there was no health risk’

The flooding was bad.  Not ‘pretty bad‘ – just bad.  There was nothing pretty about it.  And this ‘rainwater runoff‘ that people were being told by ‘the City of Ottawa’ is no real problem?  It was boiling out of people’s toilets, stinky, icky brown sludge with poops floating in it…


I know – I went out and saw it!  On Tuesday, July 28th, I took my camera and went to talk to some of the people who had been flooded out of their homes…

I heard some sad, sad stories!

And, I took some pictures – with permission – to show at least a tiny bit of the damage because words don’t tell the story.  Actually, nor do the pictures:  one would need ‘smelo-vision’ to comprehend what these people are going through.

It’s not just the ruined stuff – though, that is a part of it.

Sewage-ruined posessions

It is that people’s homes smell like heavily used, never-cleaned latrines!  The whole neighbourhood smelled like sewage – with a strong overlay of must and mold thrown in for good measure (this was 5 days after the storm…).

One family I spoke to had had their basement filled 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep with this raw sewage soup of pathogens!  When I was there, some specialized clean up people were there, wearing protective rubber pants up to their chest, and one of them had to go ‘decontaminate’ because the stuff got inside his suit…

That is deep shit!

Can you imagine living in a house, the bottom of which is filled with 5-day-ripe sewage/germ soup???

All the pets were tied up outside – even if the owners had to be at work – because leaving them inside the homes would have killed them.  And, can you imagine what happened to pets who were kept in the basement (like, say, fish or ‘small mammals’ or reptiles whose cages were kept in the family room – traditionally in the basement)?

That is where this little girl’s pet was kept – only by coincidence (renovations) was this pet’s cage temporarily moved upstairs…  I dread to think what would have happened to this sweet little boo-boo, who was so friendly and gave me ‘kisses’!

Even pets were endangered...

Or how her young owner would have felt if she woke up in the morning and found her beloved pet had drowned in raw sewage…

This family had recently bought this home and were doing some renovations.  While this was going on, they stored all of their good ‘stuff’ in the basement:  still in the packaging from the movers.


Reflecting on the damage...

All ruined!

ruined and contaminated...

That, in itself, is sad.

The people I talked with were just happy nobody got killed.  One lady said that they will probably get angry later – but, now, they were just happy to be alive, not sick from the ‘sludge’ they were surrounded by!

And, their insurance company said they’d cover them!

At least, this family’s insurance company was good – not only did it cover them fully, it also allowed them to get rid of the damaged and contaminated things, taking their claim at their word (supported by photographs).

Not every insurance company took this approach:  some required an inspection by their representative.  And, 5 days after the poop-flood, some of these people’s insurance reps had not yet showed up!

This created a whole pile of other problems:  some despicable people started stealing the ‘contaminated stuff’ from their neighbours, in order to add it to ‘their pile’ and, in this way, to boost up the value of their own insurance pay off!  Some people resorted to taking axes to their ‘contaminated stuff’, to make it less easy for these unscrupulous fraudsters to carry off their destroyed ‘stuff’…

breaking 'stuff' into pieces so it's not easy to steal...

Almost half the homes on this street had their sewage lines completely blocked:  no water would drain from their toilets or sinks…making their homes even less habitable than the rest!  No flushing, no showers, no washing hands of brushing teeth…

OK – this is a really bad scenario:

  • the contaminated ‘stuff’ is out on people’s laneways and lawns, rotting there and polluting the whole area
  • the insurance people have not gotten around to looking at it yet – so it must not be stolen or taken away, or the people will not be compensated for it.
  • some people are stealing their neighbours’ ‘stuff’ to artificially (and fraudulently) inflate their own insurance claims
  • the cops have promised to patrol the area to prevent this form of looting, but, during the few hours I took to tour the area, I only saw one police officer, on a motorcycle – but stationary, in the parking lot of the nearest police station

…and then…

…the City decides it is time to send in the garbage trucks to take the contaminated ‘stuff’ away!  And while this was ‘good’ in the sense that it prevented the contaminated ‘stuff’ from being a petri-dish, growing all kinds of germs and spreading them throughout the neighbourhood… it was a serious problem for the people whose insurance companies would not accept photographic evidence and whose adjusters had not yet shown up…

garbage - all garbage

The really bad thing is…  for many of the residents, trying to satisfy an insurance adjuster was not really their worry – in a bad way!  Because they had been flooded in exactly the same way two or three times before, their insurance companies had refused to cover them!  Something about being a ‘bad risk’

You see, dear readers, this is a bit of a regular thing!

'Cat' got your 'tongue'n'groove'?

(This family’s son’s employer loaned them the ‘cat’ to help them shift the really destroyed things – it was the only physical help this family got!)

As a matter of fact, some of the residents still have a class-action suit against the City of Ottawa from the last flood….  Suing a government is not easy in Canada – one has to show ‘gross negligence’ before they are even allowed to file such a suit.  Yet, this very type of lawsuit is indeed outstanding:  it seems that after the flood 2 floods ago, the City’s engineers in charge of the system were ‘grossly negligent’ in repairing the faulty sewage system that the previous flood was deemed to likely be their fault!

But, the City took care of it!

They spent several millions of taxpayer’s money on ‘fixing’ the ‘sewer system’ in this very neighbourhood following the last flood!  And, they must have done something:  this flood hot not just all the ‘old neighbourhoods’, but also destroyed the homes in all the neighbourhoods surrounding it!!!

The ‘funny’ thing is…

The City of Ottawa spent millions of dollars ‘fixing’ the sewer-line problem in this neighbourhood – both following the last poop-flood and as a response to the lawsuit.  Yes, many millions of taxpayers’ dollars.  And, last summer, the City announced that ‘all the problems were fixed’ and there would not be a repeat of the past 3 poop-floods!

Surprisingly, many people living in this neighbourhood believed them – and re-built their basements!  Even many insurance companies – satisfied that the ‘problem had been fixed’ – had finally released the funds for people to re-build their homes from the last poop-flood damage…

Yeah….just about all the homes had just finished the renovations of their basements…  Silly bunnies –  believing the City bureaucrats!!!

OK, so this is the situation…

  • a particular neighbourhood has been flooded with poop for the 4th time in 12 years (each flood was described by the city as ‘once-in-a-lifetime-thing) … OK, the boundary is a little variable – after the last ‘fixes’ the city put in, a much larger area is affected…
  • the City’s health department maintained that this raw sewage gushing into people’s homes – and flooding the lower levels, sometimes up to a meter-and-a-half deep, is not a health risk (even though people were admitted into local hospitals from the resultant infections)
  • the bureaucrats – and many elected politicians – insisted this was ‘water-run-off’ and denied that it included raw sewage – even though they knew perfectly well that here, as in most Ottawa neighbourhoods, the rain-water-run-offs and the sewage lines use the same pipes!  It would be physically impossible for the rain-water to get into people’s homes without sewage getting in too, as both share the same pipes!

This last ‘problem’ has been discussed ad infinitum – for decades!  This summer alone, the City of Ottawa has already dumped over 790 MILLION liters of raw sewage into the Ottawa river, and the predictions are that we will dump well over a BILLION (with a ‘B’) liters of raw sewage into the river before the summer is out!

So, is the City taking this seriously?  Are they trying to stem the flow of sewage into our river – which is also our source of drinking water (as it is a source of drinking water for all the places down-stream)?  Are they trying to help the residents with the clean-up?  Or with money – especially the ones whose insurance companies would not cover a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ thing that crops up 4 times in 12 years???

Well – not exactly…

The City Councilor representing this area is on holidays. Holidays are OK…  But, when this all happened, she could not return because she (Peggy Feltmate) is on a boat and cannot get off!  No, she’s not kidnapped – it’s just physically impossible for her to get off a boat tour of the river Rhine!  But, no worry – she sent in an email of support!

So, is the City of Ottawa – with or without this non-swimmer of a  councilor – busy trying to help?

Well – you be the judge…

They just hired a whole pile of inspectors!  No, not to gauge the problem…

Rather, these inspectors are driving around the geographically large area of the amalgamated City of Ottawa and making sure that all the farmers unfortunate enough to fall inside the city limits have taken down all the signs promoting or otherwise identifying their farms (even those who had invested into ‘branding’ and paid artists to develop their logos and make their signs) and replaced them with the official ‘City of Ottawa farm’ signs…

All these farm signs are the same size and shape – standardized to a common format:  blue, with white lettering and with a large City of Ottawa logo at the top….and a smaller area where the farm can put its name.

What the #)$(U?????


The City has obviously spent a lot of time and personpower in developing these new standardized signs for farms!  The rules about them are pages long…

And, the City’s current priority is hiring inspectors who will enforce this new sign law, inspecting farms and fining anyone (hundreds of thousands of dollars PER DAY) who is not in full compliance with these new City of Ottawa signage laws….

I could not make this stuff up if I tried…

It is governments like these that feed the anarchist movement:  and that make me want to scream!!!

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