Posted on Friday August 16, 2019 at 10:12 a.m.
Québec hydro plant blamed for dead fish
A hydroelectric plant operating in Gatineau’s east end is blamed for more than 2000 dead fish which have shown up along the shores of the Ottawa River during the past summer months.
Québec’s Environment Ministry released results of an investigation of operations at the Lièvre River hydro plant in Masson-Angers. The facility is owned and operated by Brookfield Power Services Inc. and Lièvre River Power L.P.
Plant operations resulted in oversaturation of dissolved gas, or air, in the Lièvre River. The gas-saturated river water caused the deaths of hundreds of fish, which floated downstream to where the Lièvre empties into the Ottawa River. Sightings of the dead fish have been reported over the summer at Rockland and several other locations along the Ottawa River.
The Québec government has ordered the two companies to fix the problem with their plant’s operations and to maintain monitoring dissolved gas levels from the plant to make sure no further fish kills result. The companies were also told to hire an expert to “identify the operating conditions of the dam that are likely to cause the phenomenon in question” and to follow the expert’s recommendations to prevent future such incidents.
Evolugen, the new name for Brookfield Renewable Canada, issued a statement blaming the problem on this spring’s flooding situation.
“This spring’s extraordinary flooding and high water flows caused unusually high levels of debris in the Lièvre River,” stated Vanessa Pilotte, Evolugen vice-president of public affairs and sustainability, “which has resulted in more frequent clearing of debris than the norm at our facility.”
The company statement did not explain the connection between debris clearing at the plant and high discharge levels of dissolved gas from plant operations. Pilotte stated the company is cooperating with the provincial government as the investigation continues. A statement from the Québec environment ministry indicated charges and fines against the two companies for the fish kills may be possible.