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Sewage dump set to begin next week

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MONTREAL—The City of Montreal says it will begin dumping eight billion litres of untreated sewage into the St. Lawrence River on Wednesday.

Mayor Denis Coderre said the dump will begin at 12:01 a.m.

New Environment minister Catherine McKenna said yesterday she would permit the dump as long as certain conditions were met by the city.

Coderre said today the city will meet all of those requirements—including increased monitoring of the river, an emergency plan for unintended problems, and a clean-up plan for areas that are affected.

McKenna asked the city keep tabs on the water quality before, during, and after the discharge, and give that data to the federal government.

Citizens, meanwhile, are being asked not to flush certain items during the dump like condoms, medications, and tampons.

McKenna said called the situation “less than ideal” but the best solution to the city’s wastewater crisis.

Her decision brings an end to the often bitter back-and-forth sniping between Coderre and the previous Conservative government over the project.

Coderre openly accused the previous government of being anti-science and using the city’s sewage crisis as political fodder during the recent federal election campaign.

The mayor has said the dump is necessary because the city temporarily must close a large sewer that feeds sewage to a treatment facility and alternative solutions would be too costly.

The city plans to relocate a snow chute and conduct critical work on aging sewage infrastructure.

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