An update on plans for Montreal's St. Lawrence sewage dump

Environment Canada experts say risks limited if done before winter

Photograph by Roger Lemoyne

Photograph by Roger Lemoyne

MONTREAL — Environment Canada has announced that risks to the St. Lawrence River ecosystem can be limited if Montreal conducts its massive sewage dump before the winter months and monitors the discharge properly.

The federal agency made the comments today during a technical briefing with journalists regarding the results of its expert-panel report.

Officials with Environment Canada have still not made final recommendations to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna regarding whether or not to authorize the dumping of eight billion litres of untreated sewage into the river.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has said the dump is necessary because the city needs to temporarily close a large sewer that feeds sewage to a treatment facility and alternative solutions would be too costly.

The discharge was suspended by the previous Conservative government, which appointed an independent panel of experts to determine if the waste water would be acutely toxic.

The panel concluded that it is unlikely the discharge will affect fish reproduction cycles if its conducted before winter but warned that the dumping must be monitored.

Environment Canada’s latest suspension is in effect until next Monday.


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