Activities in 2016

  • Accidental spills reported to authorities: 937 (910 in 2015).
  • The NSERC/Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair in Phytotechnology was established at the Université de Montréal. Objective: develop and optimize phytotechnological approaches in two areas, phytoremediation of soil or contaminated water, and restoration of plant cover to prevent invasion by undesirable plants (trees and shrubs in rights-of-way or invasive alien plant species).
  • We saved 18.8 million litres of drinking water under our program for refurbishing administrative buildings: this volume would fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools. Recurring annual savings since 2007 total 277 million litres.
  • The use of 39 million cubic metres of water was declared under the Regulation respecting the declaration of water withdrawals. Water withdrawals have dropped significantly since 2012 when the Gentilly-2 nuclear power plant ceased operations.

Soil rehabilitation at the Cap-aux-Meules dock

Ever since a spill occurred at the Cap-aux-Meules dock in September 2014, Hydro-Québec has been remediating the soil there. The situation has caused some inconvenience and a user committee set up the following year met four times in 2016 to find ways to minimize the impact of the clean-up on business operations and tourism.

We recovered nearly 70% of the hydrocarbons, mainly from the water’s surface. The remaining 30% stuck to the dock structure and required in-situ use of other decontamination techniques. We considered the site configuration, existing infrastructure, operations at the site, proximity to the water and the impact of tides. The chosen techniques included a vacuum-extraction technique called bioslurping, vapor extraction, thermal treatment, chemical oxidation and aerobic biodegradation. The work will be completed in December 2017. In all, we bored more than 400 wells in the dock to recover the contaminants in the soil.

Video on soil remediation (in French only)

Accidental spills
  2013 2014 2015 2016
Spills responded to in less than 12 hours (%) 79 80 89 87
Spills involving less than 100 litres (%) 95 92 92 92
Spills due to equipment breakage (%) 62 60 59 51