Nova Scotia

Residents say Trenton plant bad for their health

A protest was held Monday outside the Trenton coal-fired generating station by people who say the ash it spewed over the weekend was bad, but they worry most about their health.
A group gathered outside the Trenton Generating Station to say the plant is bad for their health. (CBC)

A protest was held Monday outside the Trenton coal-fired generating station by people who say they worry about what the plant is doing to their health.

A malfunction on the weekend sent ash spewing into the air and onto the properties of people living nearby.

"At first I thought it was a heavy frost," Hugh McAuley said. "Then I went out and I said 'Holy jumping, it's worse than usual.'"

"My car was all full of ash, and my husband's truck and … my house and all my doorsteps all full black stuff," Peggy Barnett said.

Residents believe there are high levels of toxic metals like arsenic in the ground around their homes.

"There's 65 different metals in it," said Peter Boyles. "There's arsenic, there's copper zinc, you name it."

"Everybody in Trenton seems to have health concerns and health problems and I'm very concerned having little ones," Erin Trowell said.

Residents want the coal plant to shut down or be converted.

"Turn it over to something like natural gas or something where they're not burning fossil fuels," Boyles said.

"Fossil fuels [are] a no-no. We're not back in dark ages  …  we are asking them to do just turn around, man up and do the right thing and protect our children and our grandchildren."

Soot could be seen covering cars and roofs Monday. (CBC)

Boyles said local politicians are not doing enough to help.

"We don't need sympathy, we need action and enough is enough … we need to do something and do it now," he said to Clarrie MacKinnon, MLA for Pictou East, who came to talk to protesters.

"It is deplorable.  It is unacceptable. The only alternative at this particular point is homes without heat," said MacKinnon.

Nova Scotia Power apologized to residents and promised to clean up the soot.