Blainville | Arsenic and hazardous metals near a waste cemetery

Arsenic, cadmium, copper, chromium: a soil analysis carried out by environmental groups seems to demonstrate heavy contamination around a hazardous waste treatment site in Blainville. Levels that would represent a health risk. And now, citizen voices are being raised for the provincial government to act, even if it means demanding a moratorium on the activities of the industrial landfill company Stablex.




With around thirty citizens, ecotoxicology specialist Daniel Green took a good hundred samples at the beginning of December from the waterlogged ditches and soils bordering the company located just north of Montreal. The objective was to measure the concentrations of around ten heavy metals.

Results: Exceedings of the standards established by the Ministry of the Environment of Quebec (MELCCFP) were discovered on all sampling sites, i.e. 11 areas in total, reveal data from the Society to Overcome Pollution, obtained by The Press.

“The question was whether Stablex pollutes. Yes, and not just a little. The ball is now in the court of the Ministry of the Environment to which the raw data has been given. It is up to them to carry out an investigation further,” said Mr. Green, who led the sampling at the request of three environmental groups, including Mères au front – Rivière des Mille Îles. He hopes that the government will do its own analyses, on Stablex lands, with soil coring that was not carried out by his group.

The Stablex company has been established in Blainville for 40 years. It is the only one of its kind in North America. Its facilities and cells treat and bury hazardous industrial waste and contaminated soil in perpetuity. Half of the materials come from the northeast of the United States, from Ontario, the other half comes from Quebec.

In the fall of 2023, the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) came to the conclusion that a Stablex expansion project was “premature”. The BAPE emphasized that the company and its expansion project are located in the heart of an “exceptional” ecological environment. During the BAPE process, the City of Blainville decided to break a pact with Stablex allowing it to expand in the weakened territory. The expansion project consisted of building a new cell to store hazardous waste.

PHOTO CHARLES WILLIAM PELLETIER, ARCHIVES SPECIAL COLLABORATION

The ecosystem around Stablex, forming one of the few large urban peatlands in Quebec, is poorly maintained and littered with waste.

Around the company, there are wetlands and an ecosystem forming one of the rare large urban peatlands in Quebec. Across the land, a cycle path linking Blainville to Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines has been created. The ecosystem, however, is poorly maintained and littered with waste.

” We must act “

Claude Beaudet lives in Blainville. He had never heard of Stablex’s operations until the expansion project came before the city council. With citizens, he went to collect samples on Boulevard Céloron, not far from Lockhead Creek. Sedimentary analyzes (soils) demonstrated arsenic levels higher than tolerated provincial environmental standards.

Children and pets, dogs, go for walks near the stream. It’s terrible to think about the impact that this contamination can have on the population. I am retired, I have fewer years left than behind me. But I decided to get involved to warn families. We have to act, I don’t want to let myself be poisoned.

Claude Beaudet, resident of Blainville

At the Ministry of the Environment, the communications advisor and regional spokesperson, Frédéric Fournier, indicated that his team had not received a request from the City of Blainville.

“However, the Ministry received today (February 29) the study carried out by citizens in collaboration with the Society to Overcome Pollution. This study will be analyzed by the Ministry’s specialists with all the necessary attention and consideration. If necessary, the Ministry will carry out all the necessary steps and analyzes to ensure that the company complies with environmental requirements,” he said by email.

At Stablex, spokesperson Maxime Couture explains that it is difficult for the company to comment on the results “without knowing the details of the methodology used”. He adds that under a decree, Stablex is subject to rigorous controls. And that analyzes are carried out and submitted regularly to the authorities.

The City of Blainville received the analyzes from the citizen group at the end of February. The senior communications advisor, Yannick Proulx, was reassuring to The Press, by affirming that preliminary analyzes do not indicate an “alarming situation”.

However, the administration retained the services of an independent firm to obtain another opinion. And the information was communicated to the Ministry of the Environment, said Mr. Proulx.

Consult the Ministry of the Environment website regarding sediment quality criteria

Consult the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment website regarding Canadian sediment recommendations

Consult the Ministry of the Environment website regarding surface water quality criteria


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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