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Reliance Power Equipment leaked PCBs into Lake St-Louis

Reliance Power Equipment leaked PCBs into Lake St-Louis
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MONREAL — Runoff contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) originating from the Reliance Power Equipment building on Hymus Blvd. in Pointe-Claire drained into Lake St-Louis, a spokesman for the city confirmed Wednesday.

A PCB leak was discovered by a Pointe-Claire municipal road crew working on Hymus Blvd. in the industrial district Aug. 7.

The drainage system affected by the contamination empties into Lake St-Louis at the border of Dorval and Pointe-Claire.

It is not yet known how long the PCBs had been leaking into Pointe-Claire’s drainage system or how much of the toxic waste travelled through the pipes and ended up in the lake.

Both the Quebec environment ministry and the City of Montreal were informed of the leak and the building’s drain system was blocked, to isolate it from Pointe-Claire’s pipes .

A statement from the environment ministry Tuesday said an evaluation of the Reliance building’s drain system will be done on Friday and a more thorough analysis of the spill will be conducted next month.

Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny from the Sociét pour Vaincre la Pollution wants that analysis to include Lake St-Louis.

“We need to see the sediment in Lake St-Louis tested,” Saint-Cerny said Wednesday.

SVP is an independent organization dedicated to fighting pollution and keeping a close eye on the way threats to the environment, such as a PCB leak, are handled by the authorities.

Saint-Cerny said once PCBs enter the environment, they don’t disappear easily.

Environment ministry spokesman Luc St-Martin said talks are ongoing with municipal officials in Pointe-Claire and Montreal to better understand the issue.

He said there are no plans to test the water in Lake St-Louis because the contamination on the site was light.

“A lot of contaminated material had already been removed from the site last year,” St-Martin said. “Those materials are not there anymore.”

This is the second time PCBs have been found leaking from the Reliance building.

In August 2013, a city employee detected an unfamiliar substance seeping into the drainage system. An investigation resulted in the discovery that thousands of litres of PCBs were illegially being stored on the property.
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