Reliance vows to clean up Pointe Claire PCBs
Published Friday, August 30, 2013 1:00PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 30, 2013 6:30PM EDT
MONTREAL - Reliance Power Equipment has surprised some onlookers by accepting Quebec’s ultimatum and promising to secure and clean its PCB-contaminated site on Hymus in Pointe Claire.
Company General Manager Ted Marshall issued a letter Thursday night promising to comply with the government’s demands to complete the work and foot the bill for the operation.
The company must provide the ministry a plan by Tuesday to secure the site, relocate the PCBs, detoxify the land and destroy the PCBs.
Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet accepted the plan Friday but remained cautious and vowed to keep a close eye on proceedings.
Dr. Harry Baikowitz, a chemist hired by the company to help formulate a plan, told CTV Montreal Friday that the company has been slowed by dealing with all three levels of government.
“We have to ask permission to do certain things and they are not going as fast as expected,” he said.
He could not say whether the company could afford the $3 or $4 million required to complete the work, a figure Baikowitz characterized as a “guesstimate.”
Baikowitz said that the danger of the situation has been overstated and is nowhere near as tricky as the 1988 PCB fire in St. Basile le Grand.
“I was involved in St. Basile le Grand and nobody got hurt and that was 1,000 times more toxic,” he said.
Pointe Claire Mayor Bill McMurchie said in a press conference Friday morning that the municipality is holding onto its doubts about the company.
“We are surprised and skeptical of its position and we’ll ensure that it’s not a delaying tackle that will put the safety and security of the population in danger.”