Community Press

March 26/2004

MoE could be fined for arsenic sludge spill at Deloro
by Louise Livingstone

The Ontario Minister of the Environment (MoE) and Leona Dombrowsky, MPP for Hastings, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington are taking the overflow (on Thursday, March 4) of the arsenic sludge storage lagoon at the arsenic treatment plant at Deloro very seriously.

Soon after the incident, the minister spoke to The Community Press saying “It is a spill and we treat all spills seriously.” She commented on the number of spills that day, when many sewage treatment plants overflowed with storm water.

“Deloro is managed by the ministry and we have to ensure it is not repeated,” said Minister Leona. “I have asked for the matter to be investigated, to be provided with information about why it happened, and with a plan to ensure this does not happen again. It is absolutely appropriate, that as we begin the rehabilitation work, action is taken to prevent this from reoccurring.”

John Steele, media spokesman for the MoE, confirmed the Spill Action Centre had issued an order. The MoE Belleville office, Abatement Branch, took action to ensure the spill was cleaned up. They also issued an order which requires MoE, and Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), which runs the arsenic treatment plant, for a report explaining how the spill occurred, and setting out a contingency plan to ensure it does not happen again. The Abatement Branch has sent a report to the Enforcement Branch, which will decide whether or not to lay charges.

Minister Leona Dombrowsky later told The Community Press that if MoE or OCWA are found to be negligent, the fine will be given to a conservation area or other environmental project. Centre Hastings Reeve Tom Deline would like any fine to go toward the cleaning up of Moira Lake.