Government takes over PCB cleanup
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:25AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 17, 2013 6:44PM EDT
The provincial government has seized control of a Pointe Claire industrial property where PCBs have been illegally stored for years.
Environmental Ministry Yves-Francois Blanchet confirmed on Tuesday that the government had to step in, one day after CTV Montreal reported that Reliance Power Corp. did not have enough money to pay for cleaning up the toxic material after the estimates doubled to $8 million.
Blanchet said he was concerned that the company had not taken sufficient steps to prevent trespassers from entering the property.
"I'm glad to see that our teams are already at work. Some alarm systems are already installed, and work is being done on the fences," said Blanchet.
"We intend to have the PCBs carried out of the site from 48 hours from now."
He added that there does not appear to be any malice on the part of Reliance, just a case of people being in over their head when it comes to cleaning up a dangerous mess. However Blanchet said there is still a chance the owner of the company, Birdie Marshall, could face criminal charges.
The province has also put a lien on the property.
The ministry learned in the spring that Reliance was illegally storing PCB-containing transformers and oil on its property in Pointe Claire, and had been doing so for years.
Throughout the summer the government pushed Reliance to come up with an acceptable plan to store and remove the electrical transformers and other equipment and to decontaminate the soil.
Two weeks ago the provincial government accepted the final cleanup plan provided by Reliance Power Corp. to clean up the company's property, which was estimated to cost $3 to 4 million, but on Monday consultant Harry Baikowitz told CTV that the cost had doubled to $7 to 8 million.
Reliance Power Corp. only has $2.5 million in assets.
Pointe Claire Mayor Bill McMurchie is glad that work to bring the site to an acceptable condition is now underway.