PCB leak contaminated soil in Pointe-Claire
Toxins discovered in storm sewer near PCB-contaminated site on West Island
A year after the province promised to clean up a PCB leak at the Reliance Power Equipment Ltd. site in Pointe-Claire, the city is still waiting for them to finish the job.
- PCBs discovered in Pointe-Claire drainage system
- PCB-laden oil found illegally stored in Pointe Claire
- CBC Archives: The Dangers of PCBs
The city confirmed yesterday that PCBs had been detected in stormwater runoff from the site, where leaking transformers and containers were discovered and removed last year.
“The former minister told everybody last year that they will decontaminate everything, but [Monday] evening in a communique, the ministry reconfirmed that intention to decontaminate the site,” Robert Weemaes, Pointe-Claire’s city manager, told CBC’s Daybreak.
“They did some work on the surface, but they will have to go deeper and they still are doing testing for this so we will see in the next week and next months what they will do.
“It’s under their control and they are the experts so we have to follow them and we will see what they are doing with it.”
Public notice issued 2 weeks after discovery
The city of Pointe-Claire sent out a notice on Monday, warning the public that municipal authorities discovered a leak of polychlorinated biphenyl in the storm drainage system on Hymus Boulevard on Aug. 7, near the Reliance storage site.
The city cut off all access to the storm drains.
In August 2013, the environment ministry confirmed the company had been keeping transformers full of the dangerous chemicals unsupervised in its yard for 15 years.
The ministry said 800-1,200 litres of oily liquid containing large concentrations of PCBs leaked from Reliance's property in March 2013.
The sources of the leaks have been removed and the recently-discovered contamination is coming from the ground at the site, Weemans said.
Weemaes said the ministry confirmed the contamination is considered “light.”
“They still are making all the tests necessary to evaluate what is the size of the problem, but they also confirmed they will decontaminate everything,” he said.
Weemaes said cutting off sewer access is a temporary solution, but long-term remediation needs to take place.
On Monday, the environment minister released a statement saying that they are working with the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the mayors of Montreal and Pointe-Claire to find that solution.
The ministry also laid out a timeline of next steps that included obtaining an evaluation of the drainage network at the site by the end of August, analyzing that information and beginning the process of decontamination required by mid-September.