KITCHENER -- The iconic Preston Springs Hotel in Cambridge will soon be torn down, but in the process of stripping the hotel of its heritage designation, the city made an expensive discovery.

The city says it found water coming from the hotel that was going directly into the sewer system.

The water was flowing at a rate of about 3.5 litres per second, going right into the city's waste treatment plant.

The cost: more than $250,000 to pay for all the water going down the drain.

"It's concerning that this volume is heading into sewer system and the taxpayers are having to pay for it," says Coun. Mike Devine.

"So clearly it needs to be capped or diverted elsewhere."

Cambridge says the water was discovered in 2019 while doing a routine inspection of the sanitary system.

A dye test to find the source of the water led the city back to the hotel.

It's not known how long the water has been flowing, but the city says the $258,000 per year estimate is based on the flow discovered last year.

"The groundwater is inconsistent year to year, right now that (number) was what was discovered within the last year or so," explains Chief Building Official Dennis Purcell.

The city is working on a method to address the issue, but since the building has been deemed unsafe, crews will not be sent in to do repairs until it's safe to go inside.


A previous version of this story suggested that the cost of the leak was assessed every year. In fact, that number is estimated based on the cost of the water in 2019 alone.