Ministry needs public's help identifying 100s of toxic barrels

The Ministry of Environment wants the help of anyone with knowledge of hundreds of barrels of toxic waste in a lower-city warehouse.

Environmental order issued to 20 former owners

Ministy investigators have done testing on the potentially toxic barrels through a small hole in the wall. They are asking for the public's help to identify the contents and how the barrels got there. (Ministry of Environment)

The Ministry of Environment is asking for the public's help tin its investigation of hundreds of barrels of potentially toxic waste in a warehouse in Hamilton's north end.

Ministry investigators want to hear from former employees at 350 Wentworth St. N., or neighbours, or anyone else with information on how the barrels came to be behind a brick wall in the basement of the warehouse, said spokesperson Jennifer Hall.

Ministry of Environment pollution hotline 

1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477).

"Former employees or neighbours or anyone who has a little information they'd like to share with us, we would welcome that information," Hall said.

The current owners of the warehouse called the Ministry of Environment last month to report barrels of toxic waste concealed behind a brick wall. Ministry investigators have tried to determine the contents of the barrels by working through a small hole in the wall, Hall said.

The ministry has issued an order to 20 owners of the building as far back as the 1980s to take care of the waste.

"This is not the first time we've used this type of a tool," Hall said. "We don't commonly use it, but the last time this office used it was on this same site in 2011."

Ministry tests into the contents of the barrels has not been completed, but the findings are consistent with a previous cleanup on the site in 2010. The contents are believed to be hazardous.

The barrels are stacked three high, and "as far as we can tell, they're stacked five deep," Hall said.

"It's very unusual in the ministry's experience to see that level of concealment."

Anyone with information about the activities at 350 Wentworth St. N., or other locations where waste products associated with the business were made, should contact the Ministry of Environment pollution hotline at 1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477).

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