High Level Pumping Station, located on Cottingham Street, ensures that safe drinking water is pumped to three separate districts in mid-town Toronto for distribution to homes and businesses.

A City-wide study, completed in 2016, identified the need for a standby power facility to be installed at the pumping station to ensure that drinking water could continue to be pumped during a utility outage, such as an electrical blackout. The pumping station currently operates without backup power.

What is a Standby Power Facility?

A standby power facility is comprised of generators that ensure operations continue during utility outages.

The City has reviewed locations within the pumping station property to house the standby power facility.


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High Level Pumping Station proposed back up power study information

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High Level Pumping Station Standby Power

The City has reviewed locations within the pumping station property to house the standby power facility.

Six options have been explored:

Location Option 1: Utilize parking space in front of station

Location Option 2: Utilize playground area

Location Option 3: Extend building at 40 Rathnelly Ave

Location Option 4: Utilize greenspace on east side of station

Location Option 5: Utilize space for 40 Rathnelly Ave

Location Option 6: Place inside existing Pumping Station building

Each option was evaluated using criteria: environmental impacts, aesthetics, maintenance & operations, technical design factors, constructability, site excavations and cost.

The City is recommending Option 6 (new generators being installed in an existing building).

Timeline and duration of construction

Design will begin in 2021. Earliest construction start will be in 2023. Construction period is estimated to be 2 years in duration.

Community impacts

Some noise and dust will be generated as with most construction work. This will be within Ministry guidelines. Contractor will mitigate through frequent water spray. Traffic restrictions due to large item deliveries will be communicated in advance to the public as well.

Playground status

The playground area in the park South of the pumping station will remain open during the construction period.

Volume level of generators how often they will run

Generators will meet Toronto’s noise by-law as well as Ministry of Environment’s requirements. The generators will run daily during commissioning (approximately 2 weeks). After that, there will be periodic use once commissioned,

Type of generator that will be installed for standby power (i.e. diesel, natural gas, battery system)

The type of system is undetermined at this stage. During detailed design, engineering consultants will determine which available technology can best meet the project requirements.

Status of 40 Rathnelly (previous Yorkville Waterworks, Engineers residence)

Under the recommended option, 40 Rathnelly will be repurposed to house Toronto Water operations staff and equipment. Operations activities at 40 Rathnelly are not expected to introduce any additional noise or disturbance to the local community. Any rehabilitation and restoration to the building will respect its heritage.

Emission impact

Emissions shall meet or exceed Ministry of Environment guidelines to ensure public health and safety.

Public use outside of the pumping station (ie. East-side open space, pathways)

During the construction period, there may be closures or restrictions to ensure health & safety of the public. When the construction is completed, the exterior amenities shall be restored to their original or better condition.