By: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre told a news conference on Tuesday that 24 dumping sites will begin to empty waste water into the St. Lawrence Wednesday morning at 12:01 a.m.
On Monday, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Montreal’s city could proceed with the dump as long as it implemented several risk-mitigating measures to limit the environmental impact of the sewage on the river.
Coderre said his city will meet these requirements, observing the discharge, establishing an emergency protocol for problems and develop a clean-up plan for affected areas.
The mayor repeatedly cited the controlled release of waste water as a necessary step in the completion of repairs to a deteriorating sewer pipe system that feeds sewage to a treatment facility.
“Certainly we are not making this decision lightheartedly had there been other options we would had taken them but there were no other options,” Coderre told the news conference.
Surrounded by a panel of experts, Coderre told reporters that a planned and monitored discharge of sewage into the river is better than unplanned waste water overflow.
“Possibly in future we will have a minister who believes in science, a minister who believe in transparency, a minister who is also green and we’ll then will be able to work better together. We won’t have to wait a year before we get the necessarily authorization to proceed,” Coderre said.
During the dumping period, people in Montreal are being asked to refrain flushing certain items such as food, feminine hygiene products and medications.
As of midnight, sewers will shut down valves and gates and divert what flows into the interceptor into 24 outflow areas, said Richard Fontaine, the director of Montreal’s wastewater treatment plant.
It will take approximately 8-to-14 hours to dry out the sewer and infrastructure building will begin, Fontaine said.