Burial of black goo not enough - residents

Halifax Chronicle Herald Friday, October 16, 1998

By TERA CAMUS / Cape Breton Bureau

Whitney Pier - A 30-metre stretch of black goo that contains

extreme levels of toxins was covered with plastic and buried

with 45 centimetres of soil this week.

But Frederick Street residents still have the goo in mind and

were to talk to Sydney lawyer Joe Rizzetto on Thursday night

about launching a class action lawsuit against three levels of


The residents want the governments to pay for moving them.

"Relocation is the bottom line," resident Ronnie MacDonald

said before the meeting. "Nobody wants to get rich here ... just

give me what I got, somewhere else. It's an older home, but I

put time, effort and money into it.

"And there's still issues like ... no one can say what the

long-term effects are" from exposure to the toxins.

Frederick Street gained national attention last spring after

numerous toxins were found near the neighbourhood brook,

including higher than acceptable limits of arsenic, lead, polycylic

aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals and other toxins.

The black goo was found later, after several days of hot

weather, when it started bubbling and reeking. The stench could

be smelled 100 metres away.

Test results determined the goo contained 9,960 milligrams of

naphthalene per kilogram as well as elevated levels of other

toxins. The Council of Canadian Ministers of the Environment

standard for naphthalene is just 0.6 milligrams per kilogram.

The Cape Breton Development Corp., which owns the railway

tracks near the goo, dug a trench 45 metres long by nine metres

wide and buried the slick Tuesday.

Mr. MacDonald, who stood by as Devco employees did the

work, said residents agreed to the burial as a stop-gap


"The stuff is still there and it's going to surface," Mr. MacDonald

said. "But it's better than having them dig it up and having it

blow around."

Mr. MacDonald said residents were also told of a plan to build

a fence 480 metres long and 2.4 metres high around the brook.

The fence will be within a metre of the back steps of one home.

"That's pretty drastic," Mr. MacDonald said. "It may be


The neighbourhood will look like it's imprisoned, he said.

Next article - Rocky Jones & Sierra Club take the case

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