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Illegal Pointe-Claire PCBs storage site enters final stage of cleanup

  • Québec environment minister Yves-François Blanchet, third from left, tours a PCB storage facility with ministry officials in Pointe Claire last September.
    Québec environment minister Yves-François Blanchet, third from left, tours a PCB storage facility with ministry officials in Pointe Claire last September.
    Photo credit: ( Phil Carpenter / THE GAZETTE )

The cleanup of a Pointe-Claire industrial site where an illegal stockpile of PCBs was discovered last fall, has moved into its final stage.

This week, TechnoRem Inc., a Laval-based company that specializes in soil characterization and rehabilitation, began its work decontaminating the soil at Reliance Power Equipment Ltd. on Hymus Blvd.

The soil decontamination work, which was originally set to begin April 1, was held up by this spring’s weather conditions, including a later-than-usual snow melt.

Soil samples are now being collected in a systematic pattern from the warehouse site in order to ascertain if the soil has been contaminated and, if so, to what extent.

The soil-collection is expected to continue for three or four weeks. Samples will be taken up to the boundary of the industrial property and, if warranted, beyond.

A further two months will be required to test the soil samples and determine what actions are required in terms of soil removal.

Between 8,000 and 1,100 litres of liquid containing PCBs were discovered stored at the site after an employee noticed an unfamiliar substance leaking into a storm drain last August.

“Our goal is to guarantee the health and safety of Pointe-Claire citizens, and we will continue to be proactive and keep a very close eye on this issue,” said Morris Trudeau, the mayor of Pointe-Claire, in a statement released Wednesday.

Trudeau explained surface water had pooled in the stockpiling area of the industrial site during the spring thaw. It had to be pumped into cisterns, analyzed and disposed of appropriately.

But now, he said, the soil decontamination is finally under way and that’s a good thing for Pointe-Claire citizens.

“It’s the final action (that will be) taken in order to decontaminate the site once and for all,” added Trudeau.

Any PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that might have seeped into the ground will be removed by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC), said Trudeau.

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