April 22, 2002

Inco appeals MOE order for cleanup in Port Colborne

Inco has filed an appeal with Ontario's Environmental Review Tribunal regarding the Ministry of Environment's March 28, 2002 order requiring the remediation of lands in Port Colborne (ELW April 8).

In brief, the Ministry's order requires Inco to clean up 25 properties where soil-nickel levels are at or in excess of an intervention level of 8,000 parts per million (ppm), to undertake further soil sampling in Port Colborne, and to clean up any additional properties found to have soil-nickel levels at or above 8,000 ppm.

In its appeal application, posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry, the company claims that the conclusions of the health risk assessment report used by the MOE to support the order do not support the order, and maintains that the requirements of the order are "unreasonable and unnecessary."

Inco further argues that the definition of the Rodney Street and surrounding areas for which the order requires a remediation plan is overly broad. It takes exception as well to the requirement for a remediation plan for soil containing 8,000 ppm or more of nickel, stating that 8,000 ppm nickel is not a health risk.

The Ministry, however, has indicated that it stands by 8,000 ppm as an appropriate intervention level, as detailed in the final report, Soil Investigation and Human Health Risk Assessment Report for the Rodney Street Community, Port Colborne: March 2002. The affected properties should be cleaned up as soon as possible, says the MOE.

Inco has also requested a stay on certain portions of the ministry's order, pending the appeal. These include:

-the requirement to retain a satisfactory consultant by April 10, 2002 (the company said it needs more time to do so) ;

-the submission and provision to residents of a remediation plan by May 1, 2002; and,

-the submission of bi-weekly progress reports, commencing upon issuance of the order.

The notice of appeal may be viewed on the EBR registry, which is available through the MOE Web site, www.ene.gov.on.ca (reference number IA01E0430).

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