Residents still waiting for results of
soil sampling completed in 2001

By Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Wed., Mar. 24, 2004

Residents will wait a little longer before they learn the results of soil sampling taken here in 2001, because government still needs time to put some finishing touches on its work.

Paul Moore, project manager with Health Canada, said the document will be presented today to the executive committee governing the cost-share agreement for the cleanup of the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens sites.

It's up to those members to decide when it's ready for public consumption, Moore said.

Parker Donham, spokesperson for the provincially run Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, said some additional work is likely required before it will be presented to the community.

Included in that delay is a response from Dr. Jeff Scott, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, who has had the document since February.

A draft of the report has been in governments' hands since September 2002. In February 2003, a group of reviewers recommended further clarification before it was presented to the public.

Dan Fraser, chairperson of the Joint Action Group, said members were told repeatedly in the past two years that the information would be ready. "We're surprised we're still waiting," he said. The report consists of soil samples taken within a three- kilometre radius of the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens sites.

Moore said previously that results from the 250 samples were consistent with what was found north of the coke ovens during a health risk assessment in 2001.

At that time, properties on six streets north of the site were found to have a shopping list of toxic chemicals surpassing acceptable guidelines. The chemicals included arsenic, lead, toluene, PAHs, benzene, thallium and chromium.

Governments have offered voluntary remediation for those residents found to have excessive levels of contaminated soil on their properties. Two homes on Hankard Street are now owned by the province and ownership of a third is being negotiated.