Incinerator Options For Cleaning Up Tar Ponds
Criticized By Two Local Residents

Concerned citizens Marlene Kane and Mark Ferris erected a sign at the Prince Street fence over the Sydney tar ponds Monday morning, to bring attention to proposed incineration technology aimed at cleaning up Canada's worst industrial toxic waste site. The sign said 'Two More Incinerators for Sydney?,' in response to options listed in the Joint Action Group's community recommendation workbook. (Tanya Collier MacDonald)
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Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Monday, April 22, 2003

Two local citizens want residents to know that on-site incineration is among the methods included in a work book that outlines options for cleaning up Canada's worst toxic waste site.

Marlene Kane and Mark Ferris posted a sign Monday at the Prince Street fence over looking the Sydney tar ponds - a tidal estuary that contains 700,000 tonnes of toxic sludge doused with PCBs and PAHs.

The board, which stretched eight feet across, had the words Two More Incinerators for Sydney? written in orange and had two stacks billowing black smoke painted on either edge. The area already has one incinerator that burns local garbage and biomedical waste from across the province. We're dead set against hazardous waste incineration in downtown Sydney," Kane told media after hoisting the sign on the fence as vehicles passed by with horns beeping.

She was addressing 'option 5 outlined in the Joint Action group's community recommendation workbook which proposes that tar pond sediment could be incinerated on-site in an approved facility or facilities designed to handle PAHs and PCBs. Kane said what isn't explained clearly is that the community will be exposed to emissions for upward of 11 years. She said she wants the site cleaned up soon but not at the expense of residents health.

"In addition, constructing an incinerator on the proper ty is against Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment guidelines. She has reported the guidelines state that "a hazardous waste incinerator shall not be located within 1,500 metres of schools, residences, etc." Kane noted that Harbourview Elementary School in Whitney Pier, which houses 800 children, is located 600 metres from one of the pro posed incinerator sites. As well, more than 2,000 civic addresses, along with recreational areas, grocery stores, restaurants and businesses lie within the 1,500 metre zone. "We're certainly going to put up a fight," said Kane.

Parker Donham, spokesperson for the provincial government, said actions by Kane and Ferris get a "great big yawn." "Marlene Kane is opposed to everything we've done on the site. No practical option is good enough. All of the options are safe, practical, efficient methods of dealing with this problem." Donham said the proposed on-site incineration doesn't defy government guidelines because it will be a temporary facility, not permanent. In addition, Cape Breton Regional Municipality residents can fill out a workbook recording if they are for or against on-site incineration. Donham said he is "elated" more than 1,000 workbooks have been filled out to date. "It certainly surpasses what I thought would happen. And it exceeds the response government was expecting." Municipality residents have until Friday to fill out the workbooks that proposes six cleanup methods for the tar ponds and four for the coke ovens site.

Once the deadline for sub missions has been passed, an independent data analyst will review the responses and in May, JAG will publish a report of the workbooks findings. It's planned that JAG will provide government with an official community recommendation in May during its roundtable session. Following that, government will react to the recommendation. Donham said "people have to expect some level of practicality in the governments' response."