More Port Hope homeowners expressed concern Tuesday upon learning the radioactive cleanup project did not share details of soil contamination, which, in many cases, includes dangerously high levels of lead.
One family, whose daughter regularly plays outside, was never given the details of the soil contamination in the property they rent. They plan on getting their blood levels tested after learning one location on the property has a lead concentration level at more than nine times the provincial limit.
The lead, along with other toxins, was discovered by the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI), whose mandate is to clean up radioactive waste from Eldorado Nuclear Ltd., a former crown corporation. The PHAI is being managed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL).
Surveyors also found other contaminants, likely from other industrial sources, sometimes at dangerously high levels. The lead levels at the surface of some properties where kids run and play, is up to 10 times the provincial limit. The arsenic levels are up to seven times the provincial limit. Non-radioactive waste is not the PHAI’s responsibility to clean up.
Some homeowners were sent a letter with a scientific table indicating the presence of non-radioactive waste but the details of where that contamination was found and at what depth were left out.
The letter stated homeowners could call the PHAI office or the Ministry of the Environment for more information. But Global News spoke with half a dozen homeowners, some who received that letter, who had no idea their properties contained high levels of lead.
When the communication concerns were put the federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, whose ministry is overseeing the project, he sidestepped the issue, “to know about the details of what they intend to do about improving their communication, you should ask (CNL).” But when pressed about whether he will weigh in, he added, “we’ll be in touch as we always are… to make sure that the process that is being followed is fair and satisfies the interests of Canadians that safety is the number one value that matters to us.”
Approximately 4,800 properties are being surveyed in Port Hope for radioactive waste, with the project lasting until 2022.