Wednesday, June 29, 2016

City of Saint-Hyacinthe sewage dump kills thousands of fish

Quebec's Environment Ministry says it did not authorize the dump of 8,000 tonnes of raw sewage by the City of Saint-Hyacinthe that experts and local officials believe led to the deaths of thousands of fish in the Yamaska River.

The city carried out the dump on June 28 in connection with expansion work on the city's wastewater treatment plant.
Saint-Hyacinthe Mayor Claude Corbeil said Tuesday that poor communication between municipal departments led to the dump.

Corbeil said his administration takes full responsibility for a series of errors that led to the dump being approved despite low water levels in the river and its slow flow.
"There was a lack of communication, a series of bad decisions," Corbeil said. Drinking water quality was never at risk from the wastewater dump, the mayor said, noting the source of the city's drinking water is upstream from the wastewater plant where the dump originated.

There were 651 sewage spills in the Yamaska River in 2015, according to the Rivers Foundation, a Quebec non-profit organization.

In 2015, the City of Montreal faced intense criticism for its decision to dump more than eight billion litres of raw sewage in the St. Lawrence River.