Sewer services cartel exposed in Quebec

Sponsored by

OTTAWA, ON, Canada, Nov. 23, 2011 -- Canada's Competition Bureau has filed criminal charges against six companies and five individuals accused of rigging bids for municipal and provincial contracts for specialized sewer services in the greater Montreal area.

MSC Réhabilitation Inc. pleaded guilty in Quebec Superior Court in Montreal for its role in the bid-rigging scheme for 12 calls for tender from different municipalities. MSC Réhabilitation was fined $75,000* and is bound by a court order for a period of three years.

The evidence gathered by the Bureau reveals that the companies secretly agreed to coordinate their bids to pre-determine the winners of municipal and provincial contracts for the cleaning and maintenance of sewers.

"This bid-rigging scheme misled officials into believing that tendering processes were competitive," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "In reality, those charged had submitted token bids designed to ensure that a pre-determined company would win the contracts. The scheme deliberately evaded requirements created to protect taxpayer dollars in the government procurement process."

The charges relate to a total of 37 calls for tender in 2008 and 2009, with a total value of $3.3 million.

The Bureau's investigation benefited from cooperation under the Bureau's Immunity and Leniency Programs, which create incentives for parties to address their criminal liability by cooperating with the Bureau in its ongoing investigation and prosecution of other alleged cartel participants.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

*Amounts are Canadian dollars

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Clearing Things Up at Prequannock WTP

In 2010, the city of Newark, N.J., retained Hatch Mott MacDonald to investigate potential solutions to a problem at Pequannock WTP. Decant tanks were providing minimal solids removal as a result of removed tube settlers from deterioration. Inclined plate settlers were identified as a feasible alternative for improving supernatant water quality and were selected for pilot testing.

Be the Change: Embracing New Approaches to Foster Innovation in the Water Industry

The pressure to accommodate change will drive our traditionally risk-averse industry to embrace new and different approaches at an accelerated pace. Further, the demand for a zero-energy footprint will also drive improvements in co-generation efficiencies, energy conservation and recovery methods, and comprehensive resource recovery.

CDC preparing Ebola guidance for wastewater treatment personnel

In a recent conference call with AWWA and other major water organizations, the CDC shared it has prepared and is conducting an expedited internal review of an interim guidance on wastewater worker safety and the inactivation of the Ebola virus by wastewater treatment processes.

New partnership to measure farmers' conservation impacts on U.S. water quality

The U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture have announced a new partnership that will provide a clearer picture of the benefits of farmers' conservation practices on the quality of the nation's waters. 

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA