Montreal could start dumping raw sewage into St. Lawrence this week

MONTREAL — Mayor Denis Coderre is calling a press conference Tuesday morning to outline exactly when and how eight billion litres of raw sewage will be discharged into the St. Lawrence River.

Coderre insists the city has met conditions established by new federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to proceed.

“Oh done. It’s already done. We already agree with it. There’s no problem,” Coderre said Monday night at a city hall press conference.

McKenna announced Montreal could proceed with the flushing of the untreated waste water provided several conditions are met:

  • An emergency management plan needs to be established in the event of unanticipated deposits from large institutions.
  • Video surveillance prior, during and following the discharge be set up with a plan to clean up effected areas,
  • Water quality monitoring needs to be done throughout the entire process.
  • And the sewage dumping has to be completed by Dec. 5.

“Whenever they meet the conditions then they have the ability to conduct the discharge. But they must meet those conditions first,” McKenna said via a conference call from Paris.

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READ MORE: Ottawa says Montreal can dump 8 billion litres of sewage into river if conditions met

Montreal will also have to provide Environment Canada with a report outlining all the events that led to the city’s controversial decision.

The discharge of water will occur at 24 overflow points along an aging 30 kilometer pipe that stretches the southern bank of the island from LaSalle to the east end.

Workers need to flush the system to access the pipe and make critical repairs before future breaks occur that could cause uncontrolled amounts of sewage to pour into the river.

“The problem is there’s no magic bullet here to solve this problem. And so solutions are very limited,” Sarah Dorner, the head of the Canadian Research Chair on Drinking Water, told Global News.

The city has twice dumped billions of raw sewage into the river in years past and will likely do so again.

“It’s not the last time,” Coderre said

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