History on Ottawa’s Wastewater Plant

About the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre

An aerial view of the Robert O. Picard Environmental Centre.
  • Sits on 60 hectares (150 acres)
  • Treats domestic, commercial and industrial wastewater and returns treated water to the Ottawa River
  • Removes 90 per cent of pollutants from wastewater entering the facility
  • Operators continually monitor individual treatment processes to improve efficiency and determine future expansions of the facility based on changing sewer and water use patterns.


  • Originally built in 1962 and called the Green’s Creek Pollution Control Centre
  • Named for Robert O. Pickard, the retired Commissioner of Works in the former Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton
  • Mr. Pickard helped initiate an expansion and upgrade of the centre to make it one of the largest treatment facilities in Canada
  • The upgrades from 1988 to 1993 included a secondary treatment process and the addition of biosolids processing

Odour control

Odour control systems are used in processing areas that generate foul-smelling gases. The systems pass the gases through activated carbon beds, which absorb the smelly compounds.

In unique situations, sodium hypochlorite can be added to the treatment process as another odour control agent.

Process control

Protecting the health of the Ottawa River is important part of treating wastewater. Processing of wastewater or sewage is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sensors throughout the plant allow staff to monitor the treatment process and notify them if a problem should arise. The stringent monitoring and testing program ensures that quality targets are met and potential process problems are identified early.

Generating electricity at the Pickard Centre

As wastewater is treated and processed, digester gases, made up of methane and carbon dioxide are produced. The gas is highly flammable, and in the past was burnt off to avoid explosions. In 1998, a process was added to convert the gases into electricity and heat through a process called cogeneration. The heat and electricity produced is used to run the Pickard Centre.

Disposing of RV waste

ROPEC accepts waste from recreational vehicles (RV) like trailers and camper vans. This service is free of charge. Please present yourself at the front gate, 800 Green Creek Drive, Monday to Friday between 8 am and 2:30 pm (closed on statutory holidays). You will be directed to wait in a designated area until City staff becomes available to escort you to the discharge location and assist you. Water for flushing your tank will not be provided on site. Closed toed shoes and work gloves are recommended while on-site. Please note a City Waste Manifest will have to be completed for tracking purposes.