February 4, 2016 7:08 pm
Updated: February 5, 2016 11:02 am

Montreal takes steps to prevent more massive sewage dumps into Saint Lawrence

WATCH ABOVE: Montreal is taking new steps to keep the Saint Lawrence River clean five new waste water retention basins are under construction to handle overflow from heavy down pours. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, many are applauding the long overdue effort.


MONTREAL – The City of Montreal is hoping to use new, intelligent-based technology to improve the flow of sewage through its pipes and stop the overflow of untreated wastewater into the Saint Lawrence River.

A real-time system is being planned for when a sewage pipe reaches capacity.

The system would allow the transfer of wastewater from that sewage pipe to another that is not full during heavy downpours.

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The city is also in the process of building five new wastewater retention basins designed to hold the equivalent amount of water as 55 Olympic-sized pools.

Montreal’s storm drains can’t handle sustained excessive downpours, which results in untreated wastewater and raw sewage overflows directly into the Saint Lawrence River when it rains.

Parks Canada had to close the Lachine Canal to recreational activities several times last summer due to overflows following heavy rainfall.

“It’s possible to do real-time control and they’ve been working on these kinds of systems for many years,” Sarah Dorner, the Canada Research Chair in source water protection, told Global News.

“That would allow them to optimize the retention of the water within the sewer network.”

Building the five new retention basins is estimated to cost $71 million, most of it paid for with a federal grant.

One of the basins is currently under construction on Perras Boulevard in Rivière-des-Prairies and is expected to open this spring.

”We’re hoping it’s going to solve the problems and it’s going to better for everybody and the environment,” Louis-Paul Forget, who lives next to the basin, told Global News.

The new basins should also help prevent a repeat of last November when billions of litres of untreated wastewater was discharged into the Saint Lawrence River to allow for repairs to be done on sewage interceptors.

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