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Claiming that the quality of the waste water that the City of Toronto dumps into Lake Ontario is “too clean”, an American consulting firm has recommended dramatic jobs cuts at the treatment plant.

The firm (EMA) is conducting a “pilot project” with a view to increasing the plant’s efficiency. Staff has already been cut from 140 to 102 and the American consultants want to reduce that number to 68 - a 50 per cent reduction in staffing.

But to achieve this goal, they want to reduce the City’s water quality standards to match the minimum standards set by the province.

“Provincial standards are only about half as high as the City’s standards,” said Stuart Brough, a worker at the plant and member of Local 416. “With our standards being twice as high, when we do have a process failure, it just brings us down to the provincial standards. If we have a failure at provincial standards, we will be putting pollution into the lake.”

To draw public attention to the issue, plant operators, mechanics and electricians at the Highland Creek Water Treatment Plant held a lunch time information picket at the plant gates October 6.