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Municipalities feedback 2021

Municipalities feedback 2021

Cities and municipalities have their word 

The Fondation Rivières invited the 35 most populated municipalities in each administrative region that are at the top of the ranking to react to their performance.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

The Cascades station (overflow into the Petite Décharge River) requires the shutdown of the upstream Taché pumping station (overflow into the Grande Décharge River) in order to distribute the spill load to the environment. The Taché pumping station contains two overflows (pumps and regulator) and the spills on the pump side should never be taken into account because they are not the result of the inability to pump the necessary flow but rather the result of a situation aimed at reducing the impact of the spills to the environment.

Also, the main problem is that the more sites we have, the more we are penalized. This is what is not understood by the media. It doesn't represent the impact as well. Overflow versus the emissary affected by the overflow.

(Note from the Fondation Rivières: we recognize that the City of Alma directs a portion of its overflow waters into a large structure, which results in a higher intensity index than would be calculated if this portion of the water was not redirected before overflowing. This redirection is requested by the MELCCFP in order to minimize the impacts on the Petite Décharge River by overflowing into the Grande Décharge River instead).

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

Yes, an overflow management plan. Also, for each road or parking lot rehabilitation, we orient the design by favouring stormwater management.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Actions are generally proportionate to grant programs. The separation of the networks mainly (note from the Fondation Rivières: the separative networks provide different conduits for stormwater and wastewater, unlike the unitary networks for which overflows are frequently observed in case of heavy rain or snow melt) as well as the construction of a new pumping station with discharge pipe.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

Network separation, pavement reduction, retention requirements for new developers, distribution of Ecofit kits.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

N / A

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

Yes

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Refurbished pumping station.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

Verification of reversed connections.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

The municipality that is honest does not necessarily have a good result even if it does everything in its power to eliminate overflows.

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

Zero outfall during equipment breakdowns possible.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Our stations have almost all been refurbished in the last 5 years.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

Communication, grants, etc.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

The 2021 data shows an improvement in our overflow intensity index (intensity per number of citizens), which can be partially explained by a drier summer. In addition, the City of Granby is favourably positioned in the ranking when compared to cities of similar size and population. Considering that we notice that the intensity of rainfall has increased in recent years, we consider the number of days of outfall to be acceptable.

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

Action plans are being developed. In addition, the City has identified the most problematic structures and areas in order to implement appropriate remedial programs in the coming years.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Continuous improvement of the plant's entire processing chain and equipment according to the Ministry's requirements.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

The City is carrying out/planning work to separate its combined sewer systems (note from the Fondation Rivières: unlike the separate systems, combined systems collect both wastewater and stormwater, and are frequently associated with overflows during heavy rain or snowmelt) as well as repairs/changes to sanitary pipes in poor condition to reduce parasitic water infiltration.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

Significant improvement 2021 versus 2020, no overflow during dry season. Improvement of the intensity indicator per citizen. Decrease in wet weather overflow frequencies (72%), decrease in "emergency" overflow frequencies of 30%, this decrease is closely associated with the various corrective works carried out on the structures. It would be interesting to match the overflow frequencies to the receiving environments (river, streams and others).

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

Yes, keep structures operational as much as possible during maintenance and modernization work. Use of equipment to ensure temporary pumping during work, installation of generators during planned Hydro-Québec work. Public awareness campaign on waste in toilets. Comprehensive plan for the implementation of telemetry in all sectors of the City. Purchase of equipment (diesel pumps, gas pumps, generators, trailer for tools) to intervene in various situations (work and/or emergency). Provide, during the design of the works, facilities for the maintenance and upkeep of the equipment without overflowing.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Creation of a working committee on the management of backflow and points of operational vulnerability (water treatment department, engineering department, public works department). Implementation of a program to evaluate the durability of the infrastructures in order to ensure the replacement of mechanical process equipment (pumps, valves, screens, boosters, control panels and electrical equipment). Specific training for operation, maintenance and supervision personnel.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

Separation works of the combined networks of the critical sectors (note from the Fondation Rivières: unlike the separate systems, combined systems collect both wastewater and stormwater, and are frequently associated with overflows during heavy rain or snowmelt)particularly in the Desjardins sector where we have seen significant improvements over the years. Keeping the sewer system master plans up to date. Granted specific mandates for the evaluation of the residual capacities of wastewater facilities. Increased awareness of the impacts associated with wastewater overflows among staff in the various City departments and services.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

We note that the Fondation Rivières has taken into account the comments sent by the City of Longueuil regarding the corrections to be made for the calculation of the intensity index for serial structures on our territory. We thank the Fondation Rivières for having made the adjustments and understand that Longueuil ranks 32nd among all cities in Quebec and 2nd among large cities after Trois-Rivières, based on the intensity index per citizen for the year 2021.

While we support the use of an intensity index, we believe that this index should also take into account the characteristics of the systems and the design criteria of the wastewater facilities in order to compare the actual performance of cities. It is important to remember that cities did not design the sewer systems they operate. This is a legacy of the Quebec government's Programme d'assainissement des eaux du Québec, and the design parameters at the time were not consistent from the outset. This makes comparisons between cities difficult as they do not have the same basis and parameters.

Furthermore, given that the majority of outfall events occur during periods of rainfall and snowmelt, the total population of a city has very little influence on the frequency and duration of overflows, as well as on the performance of the systems in general. It is primarily the proportion of combined and pseudo-separative networks of a city, i.e., sewer systems that combine stormwater and wastewater, rather than being separate, which affects performance. Thus, rainfall has a major impact on this level, as demonstrated by the comparison of 2020 and 2021 overflows. For example, with equivalent population and sewerage capacity, a city with a higher proportion of combined sewerage systems will necessarily be disadvantaged by the intensity per citizen indicator, considering that these systems are very strongly influenced by rainfall. We suggest that the surface area of the catchment area served be used in the establishment of the index since it is the rain that falls on this territory that generates the overflows.

Note that the combined and pseudo-separated networks represent nearly 66% of the total networks in Longueuil.

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

The City of Longueuil has adopted an overflow management plan that takes into account the ultimate development assumptions for the territory and has begun to implement compensatory measures in order to comply with the performance standards required by the applicable regulations. It should also be noted that of the 90 structures in the Longueuil sewer system, less than 10% are responsible for 90% of the overall intensity index. Within the framework of the above-mentioned plan, these structures with a major impact have been targeted as well as measures to mitigate outfalls, such as the construction of a retention basin adjacent to the St. Lawrence Seaway pumping station, located in Vieux-Longueuil. Investments of $5.6 million are planned in the three-year capital program for 2023 to 2025 for compensatory measures under the overflow management plan.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Several studies are underway to determine the optimal solution for the expansion and upgrading of the South Shore Wastewater Treatment Centre in relation to future requirements applicable in 2031. An action plan will be submitted to the MELCC by the end of the year as planned in the ROMAEU. Thus, the expansion and upgrading of the CERS is planned by 2031. Discussions have been initiated with MELCC to determine the level of processing expected in the future. If an increase in capacity is required to optimize environmental performance, the cities linked to the agglomeration of Longueuil will request financial assistance from senior governments.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

In 2020, the agglomeration of Longueuil adopted the Water Strategy 2020-2030 which is the result of strategic planning to ensure the quality, integrity and sustainability of the water service. This 10-year strategy consists of 89 actions divided into 6 families of actions ranging from planning, asset management, financial management and implementation. Several actions resulting from this strategy will be taken to reduce water inputs that impact outfalls.

Furthermore, the City of Longueuil applies a regulation on its territory requiring the control of storm discharges and the creation of retention basins. Storm flow control measures are also applied in the territory of cities linked to it, in particular Brossard, Boucherville and Saint-Lambert. These measures will make it possible, in areas earmarked for redevelopment, to reclassify the footprint in order to reduce impervious surfaces and encourage the implementation of green infrastructure and optimal stormwater management practices with a view to reducing runoff.

A climate change adaptation plan is being developed to identify the adaptation measures to be implemented to increase the resilience of the City of Longueuil to the effects of climate change. Concerning water management, several adaptation measures will improve the resilience of buildings and infrastructure in the face of increased precipitation and flooding anticipated in the future climate.

In addition, each of the cities served is responsible for planning and carrying out renewal plans for local waterworks and sewer networks. This work makes it possible to correct structural deficiencies in the networks and reduce parasitic water supplies. Each city is also responsible for taking measures to achieve the objectives of the Quebec Drinking Water Conservation Strategy, particularly with regard to reducing losses in drinking water networks.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

The City of Montreal is very proud to note that, according to the proposed ranking, it would be the most efficient of the large cities of Quebec. This clearly demonstrates that the efforts made in recent years are bearing fruit.

Overall, we see that the ranking puts all municipalities on an equal footing, regardless of their type of network (separative or unitary) while this information directly influences performance. Furthermore, the proposed scheduling does not take into account the derivations or the quality of the measurement. Thus, certain municipalities which have few electronic overflow recorders (EED) are better positioned than others equipped with numerous instruments. In the same way, we observe, for example, that certain municipalities are in the best rank (394th rank) even though they have a very large number of diversions per year. Thus, we believe that the calculation method used to establish the rankings can be further improved in the years to come in order to take these variables into account. A multi-dimensional calculation will make it possible to draw a more realistic portrait of the overall performance of sanitation systems in receiving environments, not just based on the intensity of overflows per inhabitant.

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

The Montreal water strategy was adopted in 2011 and a first assessment was published in 2022. It is an integrated strategic plan covering the entire water cycle. The overflow management plan adopted in 2021 demonstrates that this strategy had a positive impact on the overall reduction in flow rates at the treatment plant. Furthermore, due to its integrated interceptor control system, the objectives of reducing overflows are more associated with a volumetric reduction than in frequency and duration of events. Several retention structure projects are currently being designed or built and will, upon their commissioning, allow a significant reduction in the volumes overflowed annually for certain targeted structures.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Montreal has the third largest wastewater treatment plant in the world, there are no plans to increase its processing capacity. Furthermore, the City is beginning a major project to improve the quality of its effluent, the ozone disinfection project. This major project, worth more than 700M$, will make it possible to reduce the concentration of bacteria by more than 99 %, that of viruses by approximately 96 % and that of a large number of contaminants of emerging interest (e.g. pharmaceutical products , industrial and hormones) from between 40 % to 98 %. Ozonation will therefore greatly improve the quality of water discharged into the river.

Montreal also has an integrated optimization and control system for its interceptors. This system, in operation since 2009, is constantly evolving and aims to maximize processing capacity in rainy weather while reducing network overflow volumes. The optimization problem considers several parameters to define the operating instructions, for example: the processing capacity, the storage available in the network, the sensitivity of the receiving environments, the weather forecasts as well as the data coming from numerous sensors (rain gauges, level probes, valve position, etc.) located throughout the territory. Moreover, a project is underway to integrate the new retention basins, which are currently at the design, construction or commissioning stage, into this optimization system in order to benefit from the best operating strategies. .

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

The City of Montreal is actively working on various projects to reduce runoff at source. Indeed, the adoption of regulation 20-030 and the overflow management plan make it possible to reduce the flow rates associated with the redevelopment of the territory, while a team specializing in green infrastructure has been set up to accelerate their deployment in the metropolis. . Several research projects are also underway with universities, studying a methodology to evaluate the performance of green infrastructure in reducing runoff as well as the performance of their implementation in reducing overflows.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

The Cascades station (overflow into the Petite Décharge River) requires the shutdown of the upstream Taché pumping station (overflow into the Grande Décharge River) in order to distribute the spill load to the environment. The Taché pumping station contains two overflows (pumps and regulator) and the spills on the pump side should never be taken into account because they are not the result of the inability to pump the necessary flow but rather the result of a situation aimed at reducing the impact of the spills to the environment.

Also, the main problem is that the more sites we have, the more we are penalized. This is what is not understood by the media. It doesn't represent the impact as well. Overflow versus the emissary affected by the overflow.

(Note from the Fondation Rivières: we recognize that the City of Alma directs a portion of its overflow waters into a large structure, which results in a higher intensity index than would be calculated if this portion of the water was not redirected before overflowing. This redirection is requested by the MELCCFP in order to minimize the impacts on the Petite Décharge River by overflowing into the Grande Décharge River instead).

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

Yes, an overflow management plan. Also, for each road or parking lot rehabilitation, we orient the design by favouring stormwater management.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Actions are generally proportionate to grant programs. The separation of the networks mainly (note from the Fondation Rivières: the separative networks provide different conduits for stormwater and wastewater, unlike the unitary networks for which overflows are frequently observed in case of heavy rain or snow melt) as well as the construction of a new pumping station with discharge pipe.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

Network separation, pavement reduction, retention requirements for new developers, distribution of Ecofit kits.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

The methodology used to calculate the per capita intensity index makes it possible to compare municipalities with each other in a general way, but it contains certain shortcomings which may lead to a bias in the results. Among other things, the index considers that the entire flow passing through a structure is overflowed, which is not the case. On the contrary, there is only a small fraction of the flow that is overwhelmed the majority of the time. In addition, the methodology does not take into account the nature of the overflowed water, which dictates the contaminant load directed to the receiving environment. Furthermore, the City is currently in the process of completely updating the technical sheets for these 224 overflow structures. Ultimately, this work will make the City's per capita overflow intensity index more representative.

The high number of days where an overflow was recorded in Quebec City can, among other things, be explained by the effect of the tide on small overflow structures; 89 of the 301 days where overflows were recorded were caused by tidal capture. These small structures capture the tide, therefore often overflow with very small flows which have a low contaminant load. The City of Quebec is actively working to resolve this problem, and actions are currently underway.

Although the 2021 melt period was the least intense in the last 15 years, there are on average around 300 overflows per year which are directly caused by it; reality which is very different depending on the place in Quebec.

The quality of Quebec City's monitoring measures has never been as good as it is currently. All overflow structures are equipped with electronic overflow recorders (EED) with real-time monitoring. The only structures which are not equipped with EED are those which can only overflow through manual valves kept closed. In the event of overflow from one of the structures which is not equipped with an EED, monitoring is carried out by the operators on site. Therefore, a grade of A+ for the quality of the measurements should be awarded as in the 2019 rankings.

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

The City wishes to improve its record in this area. Since 1999, the City of Quebec has built, among other things, 24 retention reservoirs totaling a retention volume of 212,000 m3, at a cost of $212 million. These major investments make it possible, on average, to prevent the overflow of more than 5 million m3 of wastewater into the city's sensitive waterways per year.

The City of Quebec is currently commissioning a new 17,000 m3 retention reservoir, representing an investment of $22 million, in the Anse au Foulon sector, which alone should make it possible to subtract more than 150 recurring annual overflows.
In addition, the City of Quebec is active and is committed to the MELCC to meet the requirements associated with municipal sanitation certificates (AAM).

Furthermore, the City of Quebec seeks to reduce all sources of contamination in order to give citizens access to their waterways. This involves, among other things, a reduction in overflows, but also a reduction in other sources of contamination such as reverse connections (domestic connection of a building into the rainwater network). An entire team is dedicated to this work and made it possible to correct 906 buildings representing 2,224 housing units, whose sewer connections were reversed (data as of October 27, 2022). The work continues and the objective of the City of Quebec is to completely eliminate reverse connections.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

The City of Quebec is currently carrying out major work to upgrade the main pumping stations of its sewer network. This work increases the resilience and reliability of infrastructure to limit wastewater overflows.

The City of Quebec interception network is managed by a real-time control system which uses weather forecasts as well as instruments on the network to maximize the volumes of wastewater treated at the treatment plants and the volumes of wastewater accumulated in the retention tanks, in order to minimize wastewater overflows during a rainy event. Continuous work is being done on this system in order to refine and improve it.

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

The City is proceeding by opportunity to reduce the amount of rainwater entering the sewer network. Each redevelopment project is analyzed so that green infrastructure is integrated allowing the reduction of rainwater or the separation of sewer networks. Furthermore, during the development and redevelopment of private lots, regulation of rainwater flow must be done to limit input to the networks.

In addition, the City of Quebec is actively working on the research and elimination of parasitic water (water originating from infiltration into the network or from illicit contributions: gutter connections, runoff, etc.) in the water networks. wastewater by smoke tests and network flow measurements. In recent years, the City of Quebec has undertaken the construction of major storm drains to separate unitary sectors.

In summary, Quebec City is actively working to improve the environmental performance of its sanitation network. Financial support from higher levels of government is important to enable this upgrade. Thus, the City of Quebec will be able to achieve its objective of giving citizens access to their waterways.

How do you interpret the results of the 2021 ranking in terms of per capita intensity, number of spill and bypass days, and measurement quality?

They are more representative of our reality and our efforts compared to 2020.

Does your city have specific goals for a net decrease in outfall frequency?

Yes, several corrective programs which will be carried out and in relation to our municipal sanitation certificate.

What is your city doing to optimize or increase wastewater disposal and treatment capacity in your area?

Two-pump operation at our PP1 and PP4 stations. Increase pumping capacity to the ponds at our main PP station (pre-treatment).

What is your city doing to reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system and causing outfalls?

Search for leaks and infiltrations, separation of networks, clogging of pipes and manholes.

Sewage spill rankings

Consult the most recent list of wastewater spills, based on the spill intensity index, as well as the interactive map from which the list is developed.

History of wastewater spills in Quebec

Discover the evolution of the performance of Quebec's 700 municipalities from 2017 to 2021, still based on the spill intensity index.

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