Monitoring of contaminated sites in Nova Scotia remains weak: auditor general

The Montague Gold Mine near Dartmouth is one of several old mine sites the Nova Scotia government has committed to cleaning up. Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

Nova Scotia’s acting auditor general says the provincial government does not have a co-ordinated approach for managing the risks associated with more than 100 contaminated sites.

Terry Spicer says his staff came to that conclusion after following up on recommendations from a 2010 audit.

That study found the province had recorded a $372-million liability for the 127 sites it was responsible for tracking.

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The latest performance audit found that while the province has a process to identify contaminated sites, there are weaknesses in monitoring.

More importantly, the audit found the Department of Environment did not implement all the recommendations from the original June 2010 audit.

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N.S. government to assess contaminated water sites

As a result, no department is responsible for ensuring appropriate action is taken on known and potentially contaminated sites.

The latest audit also found similar problems at the Department of Transportation and the Department of Lands and Forestry, which only recently began evaluations on historic mine sites.

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Spicer says the Nova Scotia cabinet should assign an oversight body to manage all contaminated sites under provincial jurisdiction.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2020.

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