Contaminated soil transfer station plans take a turn

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Pontiac Regional Industrial Park from the air, August 2013; approximate location for proposed contaminated soil storage station is in the area left of the centre of this photo taken by Meredith Brown.

Deborah Powell



Pontiac Regional Industrial Park from the air, August 2013; approximate location for proposed contaminated soil storage station is in the area left of the centre of this photo taken by Meredith Brown.

Deborah Powell

CAMPBELL’S BAY – Citizens who participate in public information / consultation meetings can sometimes get the feeling that their input doesn’t really count. This wasn’t the case, however, for those who showed up at the RA Centre on July 15 for the info session on the project to add a contaminated soil transfer station to the Pontiac Sorting Centre at the former Smurfit Stone site in Litchfield.
“I’m relieved that they [the promoters] listened to us,” said Portage-du-Fort resident, Bob Simpson, who attended the meeting. One of the major issues for the citizens was how close the proposed storage site would be to the Ottawa River. Given that exceptional weather events such as heavy rains and flooding seem to be the ‘new normal’, participants were not convinced that the existing lagoons at the site would provide sufficient buffer to stop potentially contaminated water from reaching the river. Questions were also raised about the integrity of the existing concrete slab that dates from the 1950s and possible noise issues for waterfront neighbours.
In response to these concerns and those submitted in writing before the deadline, the project plan has been modified, moving the storage site further back from the river and requiring the construction of a new concrete pad (see notice page  37). Simpson feels that the pad placement is a bit confusing. “They implied that after all the tests they’d done, the pad was perfect for the storing job. But where is the new pad going? On the land that PSC is already using?”
The purpose of a contaminated soil transfer station is to stockpile soils of the same nature and levels of contamination until there is enough to justify transport to an authorized treatment centre, the closest one being near Montreal. Only certain soils may be accepted, as laid out in the regulations. Detailed records must be kept of all stored soils including results from soil samples and where the soils are located. Soils must be stored on an impermeable surface and protected at all time from bad weather. Ground and surface water must be tested to check for escaped contaminants.
The Quebec Ministry of the Environment requires a public information session and the submission of its results before approval can be given to the project. The process involves a number of stages and will take at least 4 months before the ministry renders a final decision. For more information contact Litchfield Municipality, 819-648-5511 or info@pontiacsorting.ca.