An Island MLA says the province is doing a poor job of managing contaminated sites across the province.

Steven Myers, who represents Georgetown-St. Peters, says he believes the government needs to do more testing and be more transparent with Islanders about any possible risks.

Myers is particularly concerned with the old Cardigan landfill in Kings County, which was decommissioned in 1997.

"This property belongs to the government, it was a government dump when it closed and they have a responsibility for what's in the ground and the contaminants that are here, and the contaminants that may have leeched down further into the village," Myers said.

Myers says it's been more 20 years since an environmental risk assessment was conducted on the site.

Proper risk assessment

Test wells in the area are monitored annually. The latest test results reported arsenic levels well above drinking water guidelines, as well as volatile organic compounds like benzene from leftover oil waste.

Myers says he isn't suggesting the local residential water isn't safe to drink, but he says the government owes it to the people of Cardigan to do a proper risk assessment.

"What I would like to see the government do is do a risk assessment for this side of the river on Cardigan, then test the wells and provide a report — a public report, not a private one, so that the residents of Cardigan can feel that their water is, in fact, safe." 

In a 2015 report, the auditor general said the government should conduct risk assessment of all contaminated sites it's responsible for, and identify all remediation work required. 

Robert Mitchell, the minister of communities, land and environment, says the government recently compiled a complete registry of 110 contaminated sites on P.E.I.

Collaborative effort

There are at least two dozen sites under provincial responsibility, Mitchell says the government is trying to prioritize the work.

"That will be a collaborative effort going forward into the next coming years probably, to determine which sites we should go in and do some work on," Mitchell said.

For Myers, one of his biggest concerns is that information about these contaminated sites is not easily accessible to the public. But another major issue is that very little information even exists about these sites, as most others aren't monitored the way Cardigan is.

"Any environmental impact on Prince Edward Island should concern us all. We need to be stewards of the land, we owe it to the future islanders and their children and their children to take care of what we have," he said.