Lac-Mégantic tragedy still contaminating Chaudière river

Lac-Mégantic tragedy still contaminating Chaudière river

Lac-Mégantic (Quebec) 29 November 2015 – Although the Chaudière River’s condition has improved, some sediments and fish still present traces of the disaster having occurred in Lac-Mégantic in July 2013, said a second expert report published by the ministère du Développement durable on Friday.

“What is encouraging is that sediment contamination of the Chaudière River by petroleum hydrocarbon has declined noticably, when one takes into consideration both the affected territory and the concentration level.” says the spokesman of the ministry, Frederic Fournier.

But this is not the case everywhere. In fact, certain areas containing an “alarming” amount of contaminated sediments still exist in the first 15 kilometers of the river. In Lake Megantic, sediments in front of Veterans Park and the Marina are contaminated, concluded the ministry.

There is however still no questionof removing them, as was the case at the 4.5 kilometer of the Lac-Mégantic dam. “The levels of concentrations were not significant enough to stage an intervention [elsewhere],” says Fournier.

Since 2014, certain fish have also begun to show some anomalies.

“The science seems to say that the fish of the river have a high rate of physical abnormalities. In this case, we speak particularly of erosion and deformation of the fin. ”

– Frederic Fournier, spokesman for the Ministry of Sustainable Development

According to the spokesman, however, there was no “significant effects on contaminant levels inside the fish.” “Thus, people can consume them as they would any other fish coming from any other body of water in Quebec. Doing so responsibly, obviously, whilst following the fish consumption guide,” he says.

The sampling work and follow-ups on the Chaudière River will continue until 2017. It will then be the committee responsible for this file to decide what will happen to the monitoring of the river, according to the results they have obtained.

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