Ottawa accused of keeping mum on contaminated water

Quebec's environment minister is accusing Ottawa of not informing him about the discovery of a cancer-causing agent in the water at CFB Valcartier, Que., when it was first found three years ago.

In a communiqu released Tuesday, Paul Bgin demanded that the Department of National Defence turn over any contamination studies it may have conducted involving Shannon, which sits adjacent to the army base.

Officials found levels of TCE in Valcartier's water supply three years ago, but it wasn't until just three weeks ago that Shannon's 31 residents were informed of the presence of high levels of the contaminant in their well water. TCE is a metal cleaning solvent and a suspected carcinogen.

Last week, Defence Minister Art Eggleton claimed his department had informed Quebec of the situation back in 1998.

Bgin says he has been trying to get Ottawa to commit to identifying the source of the contamination.

Officials are installing water filtration systems in all of the area homes affected by the contamination, and expects to be finished by Wednesday. Meanwhile, officials continue testing water at another 85 homes in the area.