Montreal

Equipment failure, lack of communication in Saint-Hyacinthe led to raw sewage dump in Yamaska river

Saint-Hyacinthe mayor Claude Corbeil said that equipment failure and a lack of communication are to blame for the dump of 8,000 tonnes of raw sewage into the Yamaska river on June 28.

Thousands of dead fish were discovered in the river in June

A photo of the dead fish in the Yamaska River was posted to the Facebook page of Spotted St-Hyacinthe on July 1. (Spotted St-Hyacinthe)

Saint-Hyacinthe Mayor Claude Corbeil said equipment failure and a lack of communication are to blame for the dump of 8,000 tonnes of raw sewage into the Yamaska River on June 28.

The city became aware of the problem when thousands of dead fish were found in the river near the city in early June.

Corbeil explained that wastewater meant to be contained and then filtered after a planned power interruption at the city's water treatment facility was instead dumped directly into the river.  

The problem was compounded by the low water levels and slow flow of the river, which Corbeil said was not taken into account before the power interruption went forward.

"This is a very embarrassing situation for the city," said Corbeil, adding that he was not kept more in the loop.

Corbeil said he is forming a committee to study the circumstances that led to the spill and review the procedures related to wastewater management.

He has also asked an environmental group, l'Organisme de bassin versant (OBV), to carry out an environmental impact study.

The environmental group will determine what measures are needed to repair the damage.

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