Road salt poisening water bodies

The council of Pierrefonds-Roxboro was asked recently if they had a road-salt reduction plan. The mayor did not want to answer the question.

Raw sewage flowing into river from Pierrefonds, The Gazette, July 2 2009

Additional information also at:

Montreal’s wastewater treatment Part 1: A history of problems
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Editor; The Gazette

The article raises a number of alarming questions concerning pollution that has apparently been allowed to spew into our local waterways for many years.

The pollution spewing pipe is only 7 monitoring stations upstream from the publicly accessible Pierrefonds Marina. Why did the City not warn the public that water in portions of the river where they would likely be boating is contaminated and a likely health hazard? Have some boaters in that area, in this or the last few years, experienced health problems due to exposure to polluted water they were not aware could be so polluted?

Does the borough and City not have an obligation to pro-actively inform citizens of polluted water levels around the island, in this the season where they are promoting active use of our waterways? Do they plan on properly informing citizens in the future?

Is it not important to confirm allegations in the article that Pierrefonds officials suspected they may have been aware of such problems for years, if not decades? If this is the case then why the long delay in correcting these problems? Why the silence and lack of action on behalf of the borough and City?

Why is figuring out who is to blame and who will pay so complicated? Were not permits given out at construction time? If not then why not? If yes, then why were permits not respected?

Which developer(s)/contractor(s) were responsible for building those houses? Are they still active in the community?

Shouldn’t developers or contractors have to pay to fix these problems? It is important that those who create a problem be the ones that pay to have it fixed and not simply pass the bills to the general taxpayers.

What exactly are Pierrefonds’ real plans and real timelines to deal with these health and water quality problems?

Under the Federal fisheries act, did this pollution negatively impact marine or fish habitats and ecosystems downstream from the spewing pipe?

Finally, the manner in which this case of water pollution and possible health hazard was managed could make it easy for citizens to wonder if there are other environmental or health hazard problems that are also presently known by local officials yet are not properly communicated to the public.

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Follow up historical information on water quality‏

The City of Montreal website where water quality measurements are available has some very interesting historical documents.

The document titled Bilan sommaire des activités du Réseau de suivi du milieu aquatique 1990 à 1995 presents info for 1990-1995 citing many concerns about the water quality on Riviere des Prairies, in particular from storm sewers emptying into the river.

Local officials also reported that they would not eat the fish from Riviere des Prairies because the water there was brown

Interestingly, on page 13 of the 1998 document at the above link, we are told the brown colour of the Rivieres des Prairies is natural and comes from minerals like iron and manganese and from decomposing vegetable matter flowing downstream from the Canadian Shield.

It is worth starting back from these historical documents and reading them from oldest to most recent. They offer very useful insight and context into how well the problem had been identified.

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On another part of the island

Beaconsfield residents are concerned their Meadowbrook creek may also be contaminated from residential raw sewage – Click here for BCA info