A costly and hazardous drainage pipe leak under St. Boniface General Hospital along the banks of the Red River has been discharging raw sewage into the soil since at least the spring, the Winnipeg Sun has learned.

But hospital officials, who claim the leak is minor and intermittent, admit they don’t know how much of the effluent has leaked into the ground nor how badly the soil underneath has been contaminated.

“St. Boniface hospital discovered linear cracks in a sewage pipe, located in a crawlspace, in spring 2017 during a routine maintenance audit,” said the hospital’s communications coordinator Arpita Goala in an email statement. “The cracks are located in one of St. Boniface Hospital’s original drain pipes (circa original 1900s).”

The hospital says the leaks are patched up when they’re discovered. But it’s unclear how long the cracked pipe – which is located under the hospital’s A Block building facing the Red River – has been damaged, what impact the discharges may be having on the groundwater in the area, or how much could be seeping into the Red River.

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