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Federal government orders halt to Montreal sewage dump

MONTREAL – The Federal Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has officially demanded that Montreal stop its plan to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.

A ministerial order issued on Oct. 16,  informed Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre that pouring untreated waste water into the river is a violation of sect. 37 of the Fisheries Act.

On Oct. 14, the minister had sent a letter to the city informing mayor Coderre of her intentions to order a halt.

READ MORE: Environment Canada suspends Montreal’s plan to dump raw sewage into Saint-Lawrence

Coderre had initially given federal environment officials until Oct. 23 to approve the city’s plan to dump the raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River as part of a construction project.

In a letter addressed to the minister, Coderre challenged the interpretation of federal laws the government invoked to suspend the sewage dump that was set to begin this weekend.

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He also also suggested the temporary bypass is legal under the Fisheries Act since it relates to construction or maintenance work.

READ MORE: US senator latest to oppose Montreal raw sewage dump

The city wants to close a large sewer used to feed wastewater to treatment plants to do maintenance work and relocate a snow chute located underneath the Bonaventure Expressway.

The minister’s order asked that the plans be halted until Nov. 3, to give the environment department time to conduct its own scientific studies.

Aglukkaq also chastised the mayor for not ordering independent environmental studies on the the impact the sewage could have on the river.

*With files from the Canadian Press

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