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Richelieu River: a report provides a first regional portrait of the performance of municipal sanitation works

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Montreal, April 5, 2018 – The worrying quality of the river water noted in July 2017 by the canoeists who traveled the Richelieu River during the event The Richelieu in 24 hours encouraged the Fondation Rivières to identify municipal sources of pollution. This study, a first on the scale of a watershed, revealed that wastewater spills remain numerous and that the lack of planning in the work to be carried out demonstrates haphazard management of infrastructure. The report recommends a new approach so that municipalities are supported in identifying and resolving the most important environmental problems at the watershed level.

Fondation Rivières thus collected operating data from 2014 to 2016 for 31 sanitation systems, i.e. 26 out of the Richelieu and five on the Saint Laurent. Only six of the 31 systems meet all the requirements, both at the treatment plant and in the network of pipes that transport the water. Of the 31 municipal entities invited by the Fondation Rivières to discuss the results, 22 of them, or 71 %, participated in a discussion on the observations and actions required over the coming years in order to reduce discharges into the various courses of water. These data and discussions were then interpreted and evaluated in order to draw up a synthetic and representative regional portrait of the main sanitation challenges. The work also revealed a certain anarchy in the choice of projects and the management of subsidies which are not necessarily allocated according to priority environmental objectives. The Fondation Rivières recommends that watershed organizations be called upon to play a leading role in identifying priorities.

The report Performance evaluation of municipal water sanitation works – Richelieu River watershed and Saint-Laurent zone, years 2014 to 2016, is available on the Foundation's website.

To read an article from the Journal de Montréal, in which certain findings are based on this report, click here.

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For informations

Alain Saladzius
President
514 924-2013

Gabriel Cliche
Water quality project manager
514 272-2666, ext. 303

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