September 27, 2004

Quebec MOE to order Récupère-Sol to limit dioxin, furan emissions

Quebec Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair has sent Récupère-Sol a notice of his intention to issue the company a control order, under sections 25 and 27 of the Environmental Quality Act, limiting emissions of dioxins and furans from its contaminated soil facility in Saint-Ambroise.

The notice follows an investigation, launched in June by the Environment Ministry, of increased dioxin and furan concentrations observed in soil samples taken near the facility. "Thanks to the results of this investigation, which allowed us to establish a direct link between this increase and the plant's activities, I can now take steps to limit emissions of dioxins and furans from this firm," Mulcair stated.

A continuing program to monitor soils in the vicinity of the Récupère-Sol facility showed a clear increase in dioxin and furan concentrations, particularly at the two monitoring stations closest to the facility and in line with the prevailing winds. Results from these two stations for 2003 showed levels increasing from 0.72 to 18 parts per trillion (ppt) at the eastern station and from 3.5 to 29 ppt at the western stations. The investigation requested by the Minister, moreover, showed results of 39 ppt for both stations.

Having established the increase in soil levels, the Ministry then sent its mobile TAGA unit to sample the ambient air around the plant. The results of this sampling program clearly showed that dioxin and furan levels in the ambient air were higher when the Récupère-Sol plant was operating. This pattern of higher levels during plant operation was the same for the soil levels. "The levels observed are of great concern," Mulcair said, adding that "with the link between these levels and the activities of the Récupère-Sol plant clearly established, I am certainly not going to wait for the situation to worsen before taking action.

"I have sent an advisory notice of a control order to Récupère-Sol so that the company will take the necessary measures to limit its dioxin and furan emissions to acceptable levels," he continued. "I have also established requirements for environmental monitoring which will permit the Ministry to ensure that the company complies fully with the air quality criteria," Mulcair added. Récupère-Sol has until the end of this month to comment on the proposed order.

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