City of Cambridge Receives Innovation Award for New Approach to Sewer Maintenance

August 17, 2017

Toronto, Ontario, August 17, 2017 – The Honourable Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs, and Lynn Dollin, President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), presented a Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award to the City of Cambridge for its innovative use of “ice pigging” in sewer maintenance.

The award was presented this week during the 2017 AMO Conference in Ottawa. Cambridge’s project exemplified all of the P.J. Marshall Award’s criteria: innovation, tangible benefits, improved efficiency, innovative financing and transferability.

The “ice pigging” technique was first used in 2016 when the City explored the use of a new technology to clear sanitary siphons, which difficult to clean and had become more blocked over time. “Ice pigging” involves the use of ice to scrape away sediment, debris and grease that block pipes. With ice, there is no equipment that can get stuck or break the pipe, which can be costly and pose an environmental risk. The ice simply melts. Cambridge was the first city to use this process in Canada and gained a lot of interest from municipalities with similar challenges.

“Sewer maintenance isn’t a subject that garners a lot of attention – until there’s a problem. Keeping infrastructure in good repair is a key priority in asset management,” AMO President Dollin said. “Ice pigging is safer, more environmentally friendly and more cost effective.”

“Our city staff did the research and believed they could find an innovative solution to the issue,” said City of Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig. “They showed considerable initiative in terms of bringing the idea to fruition; and the success of this project has opened up other options for cleaning additional city assets, such as water mains.”

“We are honoured to be recognized by our peers across the province for using this new technique,” added Cambridge City Manager Gary Dyke. “We are continually working to improve and look at new ways to effectively maintain infrastructure and to provide better service to the community. In this case, we saw instances of 40 to 50 year old pipes go from 60 per cent capacity to 100 per cent.”

The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process to acknowledge municipalities who have had creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public. It is sponsored by AMO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks & Treasurers of Ontario, the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, and the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association.

In addition to Cambridge, the City of Waterloo also received an award this year for an innovative web application called Pickup Hub that allows adults to participate in team sports on a game-by-game basis.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.  

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