The City of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac has been informed that its insurer has filed a lawsuit against those responsible for the containment work in 1979, in this case the firm Gendron Lefebvre and their successor entities, due to a hidden defect.
According to the lawsuit documents, those responsible for the works “(…) made significant errors in the design and construction of the dike (…) and must be held responsible. All the excavations, boreholes and exploratory wells carried out after the breakup of the dike revealed a hidden defect affecting it, demonstrating the presence of organic matter, beds of sand and a layer of debris in the backfill of the dike, in the specific section where the breach occurred (…) ”.
The lawsuit specifies that these non-compliant permeable materials would have allowed the gradual infiltration of water into the backfill, causing (…) “a phenomenon of internal erosion (piping) which developed in the presence of seasonal hydraulic pressures on the dike ”. In addition, the prosecution alleges that “this hidden defect would have been impossible to detect without the excavations, drilling and exploratory wells carried out since the event, and could not have been detected by visual inspections of the dike (…)”.
“I am disturbed by what has been observed by the experts appointed by our insurer. This is an important step in order to understand why the dike gave way on April 27, 2019. The victims and the entire population of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac have a right to the truth. We have always worked to the best of our knowledge to protect our citizens and acted in good faith. This is what we will continue to do” said Sonia Paulus, mayor of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac.