Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Keep your own contaminants

Chris Hunsley
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Mar 28/05) - Inuvik has refused to allow the Northwest Territories Power Corporation to dump more than 50 trailer loads of contaminated soil in the town's landfill.

"Town council turned down the request last night," Mayor Peter Clarkson said Thursday.

"I think it was pretty much unanimous."

The polluted dirt, which still sits in Fort McPherson, comes from the clean up of a power generator that was destroyed by fire last year, Clarkson explained.

Hydrocarbons left in soil

"They had some hydrocarbons, basically diesel, left in their soil."

Council's feeling was treatment should take place in Fort McPherson.

The final resting place for the tainted earth is still being negotiated and neither authorities from Fort McPherson nor the power corporation would comment on where it might go.

"All I can say is we want the issue resolved as soon as possible," said Troy Jenkins, chief administrative officer for the community, who explained that Fort McPherson does have a bylaw in place that would allow the soil to be treated there.

The process would involve spreading the soil out over a sizeable area and allowing it to aerate and the contaminants to evaporate over a period of several years, he said.

Chris Zorica, a spokesperson for the power corporation who denied knowledge of the soil when first contacted, said the company is now exploring other options and a variety of disposal methods exist. The options were not disclosed.

Zorica did say that the company had moved similar materials to the Inuvik dump in the past and he was not aware at the time of contact of the refusal.

According to Clarkson though, no permission was ever given to the power corporation to discharge 30 loads of diesel-defiled soil at the town's dump last summer.

The company is no stranger to controversy over the way in which it handles environmental hazards.

As recently as last fall, a 13,000-litre diesel spill near the Jackfish Lake Power Plant went unreported until an employee decided to blow the whistle.

Cost is a factor in how the material will be treated, said Zorica, but he affirmed: "It's our material and we'll take care of it."