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Montreal halts plan to dump sewage into St. Lawrence River

Adam W.
Downtown Montreal

Canadian media outlets report that the city of Montreal is suspending its plan to dump over two billion gallons of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. This comes after city officials received a stream of phone calls when the city’s plans to dump the wastewater became public.

The Bonaventure Highway, an elevated road that leads into downtown Montreal, is in the midst of a facelift. According to the CBC, city officials explained publicly this week that reconstructing the road means a major sewage line that collects waste from homes, hospitals and industry needs to be cleared. Wastewater would have to flow into the St. Lawrence River continuously for seven days starting October 18.

City and provincial officials, including Quebec’s environment minister, told Canadian news outlets that they saw no alternative. A spokesperson for the city of Montreal, Philippe Sabourin, was quoted as saying there was no reason for environmental concern. He justified the plan saying the river’s fast moving current would quickly dilute the untreated sewage. After increased pressure from the public, Montreal’s mayor halted work on the highway Wednesday. The CBC reports that he asked city officials to re-examine the plan to dump wastewater in the River.

Montreal is roughly 70 miles from the Canada - U.S. Border along the river. The St. Lawrence River flows away from the U.S. toward the North Atlantic Ocean.