Sludge-shipping plan 'astounds' Maritimers
The London Free Press
Nova Scotians are "astounded" hazardous waste from
the Sydney tar ponds is about to be shipped to rural Lambton
County, says a local MPP on a fact-finding trip to the
Caroline Di Cocco, Liberal MPP for Sarnia-Lambton, is
expected to return today from Nova Scotia after a four-day
trip to discuss the shipment of 4,000 tonnes of waste
from the infamous site to the Clean Harbors Canada landfill
"The notion we're basically dumping untreated hazardous
waste near the Great Lakes astounds them," she said.
"It's been that kind of education that has been tremendously
important because they didn't know that."
The tar ponds are considered among the most toxic waste
sites in Canada and elevated cancer levels have been associated
with the sludge.
Di Cocco wanted to spread the word the shipments from
Sydney will add to the biggest hazardous waste dump in
a province where "we have the worst (environmental) rules
in North America."
"They didn't know that. People thought it was going to
a safe site, a site that has state-of-the-art kind of
processes," Di Cocco said.
Marlene Kane, a Sydney resident and member of a committee
advising the provincial government about cleaning up the
tar ponds, said the shipments to Ontario are wrong.
"I don't want to see 4,000 tonnes of toxic sludge trucked
over the highways out of our province into another province
to be dumped untreated in a landfill," she said.
Kane said it is "irresponsible" of the Nova Scotia government
to continue with the plan.
The decision was made in 1997, even though the residents
on the committee wanted the sludge to remain in the province
and be part of new treatments.
Ontario's environment minister has defended the shipments,
saying they wouldn't be allowed if they didn't meet provincial
Chris Stockwell has said Ontario imports 31 per cent less
hazardous waste than it did two years ago, a result of
tougher regulations put in place by the Tories. He has
insisted that if the waste was treated properly, it would
not be dangerous.
Rob Cumming, a facility manager at the Lambton site, said
the waste will be "solidified," or mixed with cement,
to meet the criteria for the landfill. "In that sense
it is pre-treated," he said.
"What takes away the risk is the landfill itself," he
said. "The landfill was specifically designed to handle
toxic waste like this."
The Sydney waste is "well within the normal range of materials
we deal with all the time," Cumming said.
The landfill site has been in "the environmental cleanup
business for over 20 years," he said.