February 3, 2016 5:28 pm
Updated: February 3, 2016 7:36 pm

Montreal sewage dumping had limited impact: City report

WATCH ABOVE: Montreal officials announced there was "limited impact" when the city dumped billions of litres of raw sewage in the Saint Lawrence River last year. Global's Tim Sargeant reports.


MONTREAL – There’s an air of renewed confidence in Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre‘s steps, a kind of I-told-you-so swagger.

“It shows again the importance to have a planned way of doing things,” he told reporters at City Hall Wednesday.

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The Mayor is talking about the conclusions of a report that looked into the affects of pouring billions of litres of raw sewage directly into the Saint Lawrence River.

“There was no problem with our drinking water,” Coderre said.

“That was clear.”

City officials analysed the quality of the water at 64 different sites along the river and more than 500 samples were studied.

The sewage discharge lasted almost four days – three less than originally planned  – and half the planned amount of sewage was dumped.

The result, according to the city: limited impact.

READ MORE: Montreal protesters denounce ongoing sewage dump

“There was a short term impact all along the island where the overflow and the maximum distances where you could see the impact is approximately 10 kilometres downstream,” said Richard Fontaine, the city’s waste water management director.

Immediately after the dump, high concentrations of fecal coli-form and some chemical products were found at various points of discharge along the 30 kilometre sewage pipe.

However, city officials said within four to ten days, the river’s pollution had dropped to levels prior to the dumping.

WATCH: Montreal sewage dump

“There was an effect, but it was limited in time. it was limited in distance,” Fontaine said.

The discharge of raw sewage into the province’s most important fresh water resource began Nov. 11, amid a large international outcry.

Coderre insisted he was never distracted by the controversy.

READ MORE: Mayor Denis Coderre descends into sewage interceptor

“It was a tough decision, but we had to do it because there was no other option,” he said.

The flushing of the 30 kilometre sewage pipe was carried out to make urgent repairs.

It’s the third time since 2003 untreated waste water has been sent directly into the river.

“We’ve been investing hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Coderre.

“Five of them will be built. One of them is already done.”

The mayor has plans in the longterm to use federal infrastructure money to build new water retention basins and to modernize the waste water treatment plant.

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