The discharge of sewers into waterways is still a reality in 2020, while 81 municipalities in Quebec still discharge their wastewater almost without treatment into the river or into rivers.
All the municipalities in the province that operate a sewer system must set up a wastewater treatment plant or even present a schedule to do so by December 31.
81 of these municipalities, 28 of which are located in Eastern Quebec, do not comply with this measure. These are often small villages, according to data from the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change.
“These are very expensive costs to put these kinds of systems in place. Costs often spread over very few houses, ”explained Jacques Demers, president of the Federation of Quebec municipalities (FQM).
“We are not at all surprised, there is chaos in the government in the management of wastewater,” added the president of the Rivières Foundation, Alain Saladzius.
There are still 25 out of these 81 municipalities that have a screening system to filter wastewater before it is discharged into waterways.
Financial assistance programs exist at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for these works.
“Now, the municipalities deal with two ministries: the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. […] All this means that it is very very laborious and the municipalities have to start their studies over and over again, ”added Mr. Saladzius.
Untreated spills in the Gulf of St. Lawrence will soon be a thing of the past in the Moisie and Maliotenam sector in Sept-Îles.
“Currently, we are in the process of finishing the plans and specifications for the construction of aerated ponds in these places. Construction should take place in 2021, ”said City of Sept-Îles general manager Patrick Gwilliam.
“We’re going to settle in whatever it takes, it’s subsidized, but then, are we going to have the means to keep this system?” I think we have to work with the municipalities in this direction to find solutions, ”said Jacques Demers.
“We don’t have these experts all the time in our municipalities. Thereupon, the FQM is working with the government to find a formula in which we could find a formula that we could have engineers who could help to support and settle several of these municipal cases, ”he added. .
The Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change has affirmed its support for municipalities in the various stages for the construction of wastewater treatment plants.
“We want there to be a political will to support the municipalities in their efforts, to simplify the administrative maze”, dropped the president of the Rivières Foundation.