Montreal dumping sewage into St Lawrence River

2015-11-11 16:58
The city of Montreal has begun a massive sewage dump for repairs to its sewage infrastructure. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

The city of Montreal has begun a massive sewage dump for repairs to its sewage infrastructure. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

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Montreal - The City of Montreal said on Tuesday it will begin dumping eight billion litres of untreated sewage into the St Lawrence River on Wednesday.

Mayor Denis Coderre said the dump will begin Wednesday at 12:01. On Monday, Canada's new environment minister said she would permit the dump as long as the city met certain conditions.

Coderre said the city will meet all those requirements, including increased monitoring of the river and a clean-up plan for affected areas.

Coderre has said the dump is necessary because the city must temporarily close a large sewer that feeds sewage to a treatment facility.

US Senator Charles Schumer had asked US environmental regulators to ask Canada to stop the discharge. The Environmental Protection Agency said it has no regulatory authority in Canada.

The St Lawrence River flows from Lake Ontario northeast into the Gulf of Lawrence and borders the US for 183km in New York state, but the river lies entirely in Canada downstream of Montreal.

Schumer had said the river should be treated like a single ecosystem, because fish and birds move upstream and downstream as do recreational and fishing boats. He noted that the US and Canada have worked together in the past to protect the region's waters in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Montreal had planned to start dumping the wastewater last month, with officials saying it was necessary so that workers can relocate a snow chute, or large opening that brings water from melting snow to a wastewater treatment plant.

Citizens are being asked not to flush certain items during the dumping period such as condoms, medications and tampons.

The discharge plan was suspended by Canada's previous Conservative government during the election campaign.

Read more on:    canada  |  environment  |  water

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