References to criteria don't give a full answer

Letter by Candia Mclean
Cape Breton Post
Tues., May 17, 2005

Parker Donham benevolently feeds us information prepared by his director of operations, Frank Potter, P.Eng., in response to questions regarding stabilization and solidification (S/S) at the tar ponds (Weekend Feedback: Structural Stability the Main Aim, April 30). I am not a member of any club or organization connected with the cleanup issue.

Potter refers to "acceptable" and "established" criteria, and says "tar ponds sediments meet the leachate criteria." He concludes: "We also expect to gain experience from the S/S work that will be undertaken on the cooling pond remediation work this coming year."

Who set these criteria, and are they the same as elsewhere across the country? Are they federal, provincial or other? What "experience" is Potter expecting to gain? Does he know what he is doing going in or is this a learn-as-you-go operation with inherent learning curves and errors?

Do Potter's "criteria" stem from the same source that set the emission standards for the Lingan power plant and the soon defunct Sydney waste incinerator? Is the lack of any response from the Sydney environment office regarding the yellow clouds above the power plant due to "criteria" set by someone, somewhere?

With due respect to Potter's credentials, if you ask the same question of three profession engineers you will receive three different responses, each equally backed up by some "criteria." At least this has been my 11-year experience working for Environment Ontario professional engineers. It is disheartening to retire back home and witness the same bureaucratic rhetoric that was part and parcel of life away.

Lastly, where can one pick-up a copy of Potter's highly touted "established criteria"? It would be nice to send a copy of the "criteria" for emissions standards to our Sydney environment office.

Candia Mclean
River Ryan