August 2-9, 2004

Site assessment finds former tank farm poses no risk to Charlottetown park

Prince Edward Island Environment and Energy Minister Jamie Ballem recently reassured Charlottetown area residents that the former Imperial Oil tank farm does not pose a risk to neighbouring properties or nearby parkland.

An environmental site assessment last fall found that the level of contamination on the Imperial Oil property exceeded soil and groundwater quality guidelines. As a result, the Department of Environment and Energy asked the company to have a risk assessment carried out to determine whether the contamination posed a threat to nearby properties, including the popular Joseph A Ghiz Memorial Park.

"The 700-page risk assessment, which the department received June 23, specifically looked at the potential health risk to a toddler playing in the park and concluded that there is no risk," Ballem said. Noting recent calls from area residents concerned about their children using the park, he added, "I certainly understand those concerns and appreciate residents asking the question. I want to assure all park users that the potential threat to human health was fully considered in the risk assessment and the report concluded the former tank farm poses no risk to park users of all ages."

Ballem further emphasized that those affected would have been notified immediately if the risk assessment had shown that the Imperial Oil site presented any health and safety risk.

The department is currently working with the company to ensure a basic cleanup of the site is done. The work will involve cleaning up pockets of gas that are detected and establishing a regular groundwater monitoring program to confirm that the site remains stable over time.

Ballem said the department has been reporting progress on the cleanup to the city of Charlottetown and will continue to do so. City staff were provided information on the basic findings of the risk assessment and the cleanup action that would be required. In response to the city's request as well, the department will be forwarding a copy of the 600-page environmental site assessment which was completed last fall.

The basic cleanup of the Imperial Oil property is expected to be completed within a year. If future development of the property is proposed, additional remediation might be required, depending on the nature of the development.

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