Hamilton Kent Blog

CREDEAU talks 8-billion liter sewage dump in Montreal

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Montreal needs to keep looking for alternatives after the Canadian federal government pulled the plug on the City’s plans to dump 8 billion liters of sewage into the St Lawrence River.


The city planned the seven-day dump from 26 exit-points along the eastern side of the island, as they bring the Bonaventure Expressway down to street level in the downtown core, and move a snow dump which is connected to a five-foot wide sewer.


Much-needed repairs and other work were also going to be done on the sewers after draining them.


The project received widespread disapproval from people who use the river recreationally, as well as over 90 thousand people who signed a petition (that was presented to Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and even environmental activist Erin Brockovich.


Despite all of this, five of Canada’s foremost wastewater treatment experts from the École Politechnique at the Université de Montréal presented a paper on Thursday, October 8, citing that this was not as bad of an idea as it sounds.


Sarah Dorner, Canada’s Research Chair in source water protection, is a researcher with CREDEAU—a research, development and validation center for water treatment technologies and processes, which runs out of a network of universities in Montreal.

Dorner emphasized that work is required on Montreal’s 19-mile-long, southwest interceptor sewer—something that the sewage drain would have allowed for to avoid major blockages and equipment breakdowns in the future. These breakdowns would inevitably lead to a much less controlled sewage dumping into the St Lawrence River.

Despite the Canadian federal government disallowing the City from dumping sewage for now, Montreal’s mayor is getting the ball rolling on a plan to incorporate some of CREDEAU’s research into a more concrete and long-term infrastructure plan.

In his plans, Coderre estimates that Montreal needs to invest about $1.1 billion for sewage infrastructure. He suggests better planning is a solution—perhaps so as to not end up in another extreme sewage dumping situation. He would like to focus on improving sewers and aqueducts by using new technologies.

By working with CREDEAU, Coderre will be able to leverage their findings and utilize their resources, which have already led to lowered treatment costs in water systems.

CREDEAU also emphasizes the need for the City to avoid simply plugging up holes in old infrastructure, which can lead to the spread of bacteria and sediments along the system, as well as corrosion. CREDEAU uses hydraulic models and real terrain in its studies to determine the impact of these types of repairs on a system.