Sobeys manager mum on reason for environmental service trucks at store

By Erin Pottie
Cape Breton Post
Tues., July 22, 2008

Sydney - A Sydney resident who witnessed environmental service trucks parked at the Sobeys store on Prince Street with hoses leading inside says she detected a bad smell when she walked by.

Debbie Ouellette arrived at the store after being told by friends that there were two trucks, including a vacuum-type tanker, parked outside on Sunday afternoon. "We went by there and it really smelled like ó almost like sewer," she said.

Ouellette said a male friend approached the store security guard and asked what was going on, though he wasnít allowed inside. Customers were shopping in the store while the work was in progress, however. "The security guard said there was water ó under ó the floor in the produce department," Ouellette said.

Ouellette took pictures of the front entrance area when she arrived at about 1:45 p.m. The photos show a vacuum truck with a Millcreek Environmental Services logo, and a thick black hose leading from the vacuum truck to the inside of the store.

"As the store manager I donít have to disclose that information to you," said Sobeys store manager Kevin Rogers, when asked to comment Monday. "However, we do have grease traps in our store that have to be cleaned out so Iíll leave it at that. The store was closed for 20 minutes due to water; slips and falls cost us money." Asked how often the grease traps are cleaned out, Rogers said he didnít have to give that information and abruptly ended the phone call.

The Sydney store underwent a 4,000-squaremetre expansion, completed in 1999, by Atlantic Shopping Centres, a division of Sobeys. The site is adjacent to Muggah Creek, within a few hundred metres of the tar ponds, which are part of a $400 million multi-year cleanup program.

Soil tests at the Sobeys site at the time of construction revealed elevated levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons and petroleum hydrocarbons. Sobeys said an engineered floor, including a vapour barrier and venting system, would prevent any contaminants from entering the building.

epottie@cbpost.com