What are the best practices for a planned sewage discharge related to the shutdown of a wastewater facility?
Two different point of views are confronted on this issue.
On one side, the public, hunters, fisherman, and environmental associations are outraged by the idea of discharging raw sewage directly in the St-Lawrence river. This position is understandable as it is difficult to understand for the public why in 2015 we still have raw sewage discharges.
On the other side, some university professors and water and wastewater experts, from the U of Chicoutimi, U of Trois-Rivières, Montreal Polytechnique, to name a few, have expressed themselves through press releases. Because of many other pollution sources and discharge still affecting the water quality of the St-Lawrence River, the planned discharge by the City of Montreal will have a relatively minor impact downstream.
We should never waste a good crisis, and this one has opened the discussion about sewage discharge in Quebec. There are many new articles about sewer overflows in all regions of Quebec, reporting on the overflow data collected by Quebec government since a few years. Some professional environmental groups, such as the National association of regional environmental councils (RNCREQ) and Association of watershed organization in Quebec (ROBVQ), recalled that the wastewater discharges, untreated, into the Quebec waterways are common and that the current crisis should be used to sound the alarm. The current crisis is a golden opportunity to ask questions and to review the wastewater management practices in Quebec. The municipalities confronted with such situations are asking for more funding to address these issues.