Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More on release of toxic mill effluent from Tembec property

Location of latest spill into Peninsula Harbour

[This is a follow-up to a March 31 blog posting.]

April 9 update on March 30th release of black liquor to lake from clarifier :[Source]

The contents of the clarifier have mostly been removed although frozen material remains in the bottom. Tembec dug 5 test pits around the clarifier to find the direction of migration. Contaminated ground water was discovered in several pits. A recovery sump was installed in most contaminated pits which showed signs of ground water movement. Approximately 11,000 gallons/day of contaminated ground water are being extracted from this sump with the material being transported to the spill basin. The discolouration of water at the shoreline has decreased substantially but is at times still present. Tembec will continue to extract the contaminated ground water. The source of the leak from the clarifier is still under investigation.

Environment Canada and MOE collected samples of the black liquor in the clarifier and in the affected lake water. The samples from the clarifier indicated toxicity to fish while the samples of the impacted lake water did not.

Recent developments:

The internal sewer system within the mill had collected black liquor and at times been used as temporary storage for the material. During the Easter weekend, on April 3, a leak was detected in the effluent line in the area of the mill effluent sump. These sewers have now been pumped out and the liquor transferred to the spill basin.

On April 4th 2010 an area of soil contamination was discovered south east of the clarifier about 10-15 metres from the lake [see photo from April 13, below, editor]. A sump was installed for extraction of the black liquor and contaminated ground water. A catch basin at this location had black liquor in it as well and this has been pumped out and the material was taken to the spill basin. There is no evidence of this material entering the lake.

(click to enlarge)
Leaking effluent clarifier adjacent to Lake Superior, April 13, 1010.

Tembec is developing a plan to deal with the material now in the SSB.

Environment Canada conducted a follow up inspection April 7/8th

Kate Taillon
Senior Program Coordinator, Great Lakes Areas of Concern
Coordinatrice du programme, secteurs préoccupant des Grands Lacs
Environment Canada, Ontario - Environnement Canada, région de l'Ontario
4905 Dufferin Street Toronto ON M3H 5T4

  • Chemical Plume apparent on Lake Superior (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal, January 22, 2010, PDF).

1 comment:

  1. Hi there
    Thanks for giving some info as to what is happening with the leaking.I have been trying to get the Toronto Star to take some interest in the situation.Lake Superior deserves better than this.