Edmonton

New orders issued to protect public near former Domtar site in northeast Edmonton

New orders have been issued by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health Services to protect residents living near a former creosote plant in northeast Edmonton.

Soil sampling revealed dioxins, furans and polyaromatic hydrocarbons

A sign posted near the former Domtar site, located in the Hermitage area on the North side of the Yellowhead. (Rob Riberdy )

New orders have been issued by Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Health Services to protect residents living near a former creosote plant in northeast Edmonton from contaminants found in soil.

The orders, announced Friday, come after dioxins, furans and polyaromatic hydrocarbons were found in soil sampled from uninhabited and unremediated portions of the former Domtar wood-processing plant site north of Yellowhead Trail near Hermitage Road.

"In large amounts or over long periods of time, exposure to these chemicals can have adverse health impacts," the Alberta government said in a news release Friday.

No contaminants are known to be in nearby residential areas and it is not believed there is an immediate risk to the public, the government said.

But the sites owners and developers, 1510837 Alberta Ltd. and Cherokee Canada Inc., have been ordered to fence off the site to minimize potential health risks to the public.

Alberta Environment and Parks is also directing the companies, and former owner Domtar, to do additional environmental sampling, create action plans to remove contamination, and conduct human health risk assessments.

The same orders apply to a greenbelt area south of the site, which is owned by the City of Edmonton.

"Out of caution, the government is also ordering testing and analysis of soil in nearby residential communities," the news release said. "If unsafe chemical levels are found, the province will take further action as necessary."

In 2016, the Alberta government ordered Domtar and other companies to clean up the site.

The creosote plant in the city's Hermitage neighbourhood operated from 1924 to 1987. The site was partially remediated in 1991, Alberta Environment said at the time.

In the 1990s, Domtar cleaned up contaminated soil in the backyards of four existing homes next to the former site, but residents were concerned at that time about the lack of action on the site itself.
A map shows the former site of the Domtar creosote plant. (CBC)

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