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Quebec's environment minister announces inspection program of 1,300 PCB sites

Quebec Environment Minister Yves-Francois Blanchet responds to Opposition questions, Thursday, October 24, 2013 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
December 17, 2013 - 10:42 AM

MONTREAL - Quebec's environment minister has announced a new inspection program will be carried out on known PCB sites in the province.

Yves-Francois Blanchet says priority will be given to 60 licensed PCB sites, which will be checked between now and April 2014.

He says inspections will be carried out on 1,300 sites around.

Blanchet made the announcement today in suburban Pointe-Claire, a town where a company had been illegally storing PCBs.

Toxic materials had been present there for years, but were only detected in March after a spill of about 1,000 litres on the property.

Blanchet also told a news conference that decontamination of the Pointe-Claire site will resume in the spring.

Reliance Power Equipment Ltd., the company that had been illegally storing the polychlorinated biphenyls, has been repeatedly told since then to clean up the mess, but the warnings have been ignored.

In September, the Quebec government stepped in and took over the cleanup of the site, which could cost as much as $3.5 million.

The environment minister said all the inspections across Quebec will be carried out using existing resources and without any additional inspectors.

Blanchet is also calling on residents who are worried that PCBs might be stored near their homes to contact his department.

The incident has stirred memories in Quebec of the 1988 St-Basile-le-Grand crisis, where thousands of people were evacuated from their homes following an explosion at a warehouse that housed PCBs.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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