Tar ponds work should be done under cover

Letter by Debbie Ouellette
Cape Breton Post
Mon., Sept. 27, 2010

The heading given to Margaret Hunterís letter to the editor (Respiratory ailments seem linked to tar ponds, Sept. 3) is dead on.

How are you feeling today and for the last few months? If youíve had flu-like symptoms such as nausea, headaches, burning or sore throat, coughing until your ribs hurt, other breathing problems, complete exhaustion and no energy, or are really sleepy for no apparent reason, these are just some of the side effects I believe are related to the highly toxic chemicals coming from the tar ponds site for months.

For 10 weeks or more, that is how I and many residents felt who were having health problems because of the stink and dust from the stabilization and solidification work.

The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency and governments would like you to believe these things arenít related, but many who have been exposed to these chemicals are sick. We are being poisoned.

Why didnít STPA and governments do a better job of protecting the people in this community? They know that doing this work under cover would have protected us, but they didnít want to spend the money. No one is held accountable for polluting our homes and the air we breathe, and no matter which way the wind blows, someone is being poisoned.

What upsets me most is that STPA set up a hotline and still there was nothing it could do to stop these poisonous odours, even after various foams were used. Dream Whip might have worked better for all the good the foams did.

I hope lessons were learned by the consultants overseeing the project and by the experts, contractors, STPA and governments during the stabilization and solidification work on the south pond, because mistakes were made from the very beginning.

We are hoping that when work begins in the north pond, it is done under cover as the community wants.

Debbie Ouellette