The city of Montreal released billions of litres of waste water into the St-Laurence River. Here’s what the weather network had to say about this:
The controversial sewage dump project started after midnight Wednesday and was expected to last one week. It was concluded after 89 hours of work. The amount was downgraded from an estimated 8 billion litres of waste to 4.9 billion, the city reported.
Residents are asked to avoid contacting the water directly until further notice.
Crews are expected to start work on a snow dump site which is linked to the repaired interceptor. The city says raw sewage will continue to be dumped into the St. Lawrence for 10 days, but from only one pipe. The waste will be dumped at a rate of 0.8 cubic meters per second, for seven hours a day while crews continue to work.
“It’s a question of work health and safety. We can’t work with waste water pouring on our heads,” city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said.
Montreal first proposed the raw sewage dump earlier this year, before Environment Canada ordered a halt to the plan, pending a review by an independent panel.
Newly appointed Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Montreal could make the dump provided it would meet several conditions.
On Thursday, Montreal Mayor Coderre inspected the city’s sewer system in an effort to monitor the project’s progress.
Although the controversial dump was approved by the government, McKenna told reporters the dump comes with risks.
“The risks associated with an unplanned discharge are significant,” she told CTV. “Really, it’s balancing risk. It’s less than ideal. I’m not thrilled to be in this situation.”
McKenna said a controlled dump was better than an accidental one, which could be possible given the advanced age of the city’s sewage system.
Montreal required the dump as part of construction work on a major road, which meant shutting down a major sewer route for maintenance, and eventual linkage to the snow dump site, according to the CBC.
The sewage was allowed to be released until December 5; a time frame which experts say mitigates the risk to fish.
On Monday, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the city would meet the conditions.
It has been six years since the city last dumped raw sewage into the river, and Montreal is not the first Canadian city to deliberately place untreated sewage into oceans, lakes and rivers.
Tell us what your take is on this. Do you think this is the right way of disposing of waste water?