Seaway Traffic Slows As Record Amount Of Water Is Released

Seaway Traffic Slows As Record Amount Of Water Is Released

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From big ships to smaller boats, they're all fighting a faster current.

"The current right now is pretty brutal. It takes the boat in places you're not intending it to go," said Andy Lambert, a boater in Alexandria Bay.

That faster current is because a record amount of water is being released at Massena - an outflow river regulators say will continue indefinitely.

"The trial period came out quite favorably, so we're going to continue the 10,400 cubic meters per second discharge and continue to monitor the situation," said Tom Brown, International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.

Because of the faster current, seaway freighters have been ordered to slow down on the St. Lawrence River. One shipping group says that's helping ships navigate safely, although time is money.

"It's probably taking a few hours longer, I would say, to navigate. Again, it depends whether you're going up or down," said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, based in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, more water out is having the desired effect. River levels are decreasing.

"We're dropping a good half an inch every day it seems, water levels, so that's good news," said Burrows.

But as the water goes down, the current is expected to get even faster.

"As the river level and lake level drop, those currents will increase, so we need to be watchful," said Brown.

With a faster current comes a greater risk of shoreline erosion and damage from debris.

With water coming down about a half inch a day, a month from now that would mean water levels about a foot lower than right now.

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