Pollution leak is not a danger, city claims

By Jeff Outhit and Sue Yanagisawa, Whig-Standard Staff Writers

City hall has told Kingston residents not to worry – the pollution that is leaking from an old dump into the Catarqui River is no danger to them or their children. “we have everything under control,” Mirka Januszkiewicz, the city’s director of environment, said last night. Storrington resident Janet Fletcher brought the Belle Park pollution to public attention this month by launching a private prosecution of the city over the leaking waste. Fletcher was disappointed by Januszkiewicz’s presentation. “I’m pleased they’re going to be taking some kind of action,” she said. “I’m not sure what kind of action they’re taking.” After first refusing to discuss the issue, in response to the court action, city staff broke their silence in a bid to reassure residents that they have been working on a containment plan for the old dump site for 18 months.The pollution leaking from the dump site is being drained into the city’s sewers while permanent containment measures are developped, Januskiewicz said. She said City Hall discovered the leaking pollution in January and moved to contain it. The containment wall built this month was a result of that January discovery and is not a response to Fletcher’s court action, Januszkiewicz insisted. Januszkiewicz said she was “very disappointed” that Fletcher did not take her concerns to the city before launching court action. But she refused to discuss the size of the pollution leak, citing Fletcher’s court action. Fletcher disputed the suggestion she launched her private prosecution without giving the city an opportunity to address the problem. Fletcher said she initially expressed concerns to city officials about pollutants leaching from Belle Park in 1990 or 1991.