November wasn't exactly a good month for Montreal, at least when it came to our international image. The main reason for the city's abundance of bad press: #Sewagegate, the online moniker given to the City of Montreal's plan to dump 4.9 billion litres of sewage into the Saint Lawrence River.
Montrealers were (understandably) up in arms against the controversial plan, with many worried about the damage such a large influx of sewage sent into the river could have on the city's drinking water.
Environmentalists from around the globe responded in kind, demonizing the City of Montreal for enacting a plan that could harm both citizens and the Saint Lawrence's ecological makeup.
But despite the immense amount of public backlash, the city's sewage did get dumped into the Saint Lawrence, a process enacted over the course of four days.
Now, three months later, we have almost forgot about #Sewagegate, but were critics correct? Did the large-scale sewage dump truly have the damaging effect on Montreal's drinking water and Saint Lawrence pollution levels people prophesied?
The answer, according to a study carried out by the City of Montreal that examined the water quality of the Saint Lawrence river, is no, the sewage dump wasn't all that bad for anyone after all.
Studying over 500 samples of water taken from 64 spots along the Saint Lawrence River, researchers employed by the City of Montreal determined that the effects of the sewage dump were entirely short term, reports Global News.
While there was an increase in "fecal coli-form" (from all the poop) and certain chemicals found in the Saint Lawrence directly following the dump, after about ten days, the level of contaminants in the river went back to normal.
What's "normal" when it comes to pollution levels in the Saint Lawrence river remains to be seen, but that's an entirely different issue.
Another fact often overlooked by critics of #Sewagegate is that the dump was mildly necessary. Serious repairs needed to be done on Montreal's 30km sewage pipe, and without the dump, nothing could have been done.
Granted, the City of Montreal should never have let things get so bad, but still, at least #Sewagegate had some sort of purpose.
Denis Coderre has also noted that, in the wake of #Sewagegate, he will that the City of Montreal's waste water treatment facilities are improved and new water retention basins are built, so that something like #Sewagegate never needs to happen again.