Over half a decade later, Pointe-Claire to clean illegal chemical site
After six long years, an illegal PCB dump in Pointe-Claire is finally going to be cleaned up.
PCBs are man-made chemicals composed of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms.
They're found in hundreds of electronics, plastics, and other objects and don't readily break down once in the environment.
Exposure to PCBs can potentially cause liver and respiratory problems in humans, although two years ago the Quebec environment ministry said that their studies didn't indicate any health risks for people in the Pointe-Claire area.
"It's not moving anywhere," the ministry said at the time. "It's not going towards the residents."
Still, residents are relieved that the site on Hymus Blvd. will get cleared.
"We've been concerned for a long time that there was a leak right around the corner behind our homes," said Gina Gasparrini.
The dispute dates back to 2013.
Reliance Power Equipment Ltd. was illegally storing the PCBs.
The company couldn't afford to clean the site and has since gone out of business.
The plan is to remove the contaminated soil and concrete slabs from the property.
Daniel Green, deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, has reservations about the province's upcoming efforts.
"When a hazardous waste site is left by itself and not cleaned up quickly, the chemicals on the site escape," he said.
Green feels that new legal measures need to be implemented to prevent such environmental disputes from ever taking place.
"What we need in Quebec is a fund, a toxic fund, to intervene quickly on the site and then sue the polluter," he said.
"I'm hoping that this will be a lesson to be taught so that when they do write up some much-needed new laws to protect the environment and the safety of everybody, they'll remember what happened here," she said.
View Pointe-Claire's plan to clean the site: