News Release April 11/2002

Special delivery: Evidence of toxic mess handed over today to government officials    by EBI

“Montreal’s Technoparc site spews dangerous chemicals into St. Lawrence River, new report confirms.”

(MONTREAL) – It’s official. Montreal’s Technoparc site is spewing dangerous chemicals into the St. Lawrence River, chemicals including PCB concentrations that exceed government guidelines by more than eight-point five million times (8.5-million).

These results are part of a report presented today to members of Environment Canada’s police force, concluding an 18-month investigation into toxic discharges from the Technoparc near Montreal’s Victoria Street Bridge. The investigation was conducted by the Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI) at the request of Sociéte pour Vaincre la Pollution (SVP).

“We’ve investigated the site, identified the contaminants and their sources, and confirmed that the hazardous substances coming from the site are harmful to fish and other aquatic biota,” says EBI executive director and lawyer Mark Mattson. “This report is real evidence of a real environmental crime. Now it’s in the hands of Environment Canada’s police force.”

Mattson and SVP executive director Daniel Green have expressed their concerns to government officials in the past – most recently after discovering a 400-metre long toxic slick running down the St. Lawrence River in January.

“Leachate from the Technoparc site is one of the most significant sources of PCBs and other toxic chemicals such as PAHs in the St. Lawrence,” says Daniel Green. “Today’s report gives Environment Canada the grounds it needs to launch a Fisheries Act investigation.” Green’s claim is supported by an expert paper prepared by biologist David Dillenbeck and included in the report. “Remedial measures must be taken … to protect and upgrade the water quality of the St. Lawrence River,” states the paper’s conclusion.

Federal laws such as the Fisheries Act prohibit the discharge of toxic levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) into waterways like the St. Lawrence River. PCB contamination of the St. Lawrence River has negatively affected beluga whale populations and has made eating fish in the river a public health risk.

Société pour Vaincre la Pollution has been actively protecting the St. Lawrence River for more than 30 years. EBI – Canada’s only environmental group solely dedicated to investigating pollution crimes for the purposes of criminal prosecutions – began monitoring the Technoparc site in the fall of 2000.

The call for an investigation into contamination from the Technoparc site is supported by other noted environmental groups such as Save the River and Lake Ontario Keeper.

-30-More information: Mark Mattson: Environmental Bureau of Investigation, T) 416.964.9223 ext. 242 Daniel Green: Sociéte pour Vaincre la Pollution, T) 514.844.5477