Toxic chemicals pour into the St. Lawrence River, investigators report
by EBI and SVP
|MONTREAL – A 400-metre-long slick of toxic chemicals flowing down the St. Lawrence River shocked environmental investigators Sunday morning.Members of Société pour Vaincre la Pollution (SVP) and the Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI) discovered the slick during a routine investigation at one of Québec’s most notorious hazardous waste sites, the Technoparc.|
Members of Société pour Vaincre la Pollution (SVP) and the Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI) discovered the slick during a routine investigation at one of Québec’s most notorious hazardous waste sites, the Technoparc.
Mark Mattson, executive director of EBI, and SVP executive director Daniel Green immediately called Environment Canada’s 24-hour emergency hotline for pollution and spills.
“Environment Canada has known about this site for years,” says Green.
“The extent of the contamination leaking from the Technoparc this weekend was worse than anything I’ve seen here before,” says Mattson.
Samples taken from the St. Lawrence River during earlier investigations at the Technoparc reveal PCBs discharging from the site at levels measuring 368 parts per billion – hundreds of thousands of times government guidelines.
|Federal laws such as the Fisheries Act prohibit the discharge of toxic PCBs into waterways like the St. Lawrence River. PCB contamination of the St. Lawrence River has affected the beluga whale and has made eating fish in the river a public health risk.|
Green and Mattson will deliver the results of this weekend’s sampling to Environment Canada as soon as lab analysis is complete.
“If Environment Canada does not initiate an official investigation now and hold those responsible for this crime accountable, then environmental laws in this country do not mean anything,” says Mattson.
Société pour Vaincre la Pollution has been actively protecting the St. Lawrence River for more than 30 years. Green called in the EBI – Canada’s only environmental group solely dedicated to investigating pollution crimes for the purposes of criminal prosecutions – in the fall of 2000.
The City of Montreal assumed responsibility for the Technoparc site in the 1980s. The Technoparc is built on municipal and industrial waste and was a parking lot for Expo ’67.
Daniel Green Executive Director, Société pour Vaincre la Pollution
Mark Mattson Executive Director, Environmental Bureau of Investigation