Environment Canada Police Handed Evidence of Montreal Toxics

MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada, April 11, 2002 (ENS) - Montreal's Technoparc Saint-Laurent near Dorval Airport site is spewing toxic chemicals into the St. Lawrence River, including PCB in concentrations that exceed government guidelines by more than 8.5 million times, according to a private, nonprofit investigative organization.


Toxics in St. Lawrence River adjacent to Technoparc (Photos courtesy EBI)
These findings are part of a report presented today to members of Environment Canada's police force, concluding an 18 month investigation into toxic discharges from the Technoparc near Montreal's Victoria Street Bridge. The investigation was conducted by the Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI) at the request of Sociéte pour Vaincre la Pollution (SVP).

"We've investigated the site, identified the contaminants and their sources, and confirmed that the hazardous substances coming from the site are harmful to fish and other aquatic biota," says EBI executive director and lawyer Mark Mattson. "This report is real evidence of a real environmental crime. Now it's in the hands of Environment Canada's police force."


One of the many Technoparc buildings (Photo courtesy Technoparc)
Technoparc is a 30 million square foot site about 15 minutes from downtown Montreal, near Dorval Airport where about 5,000 people work in research for aerospace, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies. It was built over the past five years on the site of a former waste dump on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Mattson and SVP Executive Director Daniel Green have expressed their concerns to government officials in the past - most recently after discovering a 400-metre long toxic slick running down the St. Lawrence River in January.

"Leachate from the Technoparc site is one of the most significant sources of PCBs and other toxic chemicals such as PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] in the St. Lawrence," says Daniel Green. "Today's report gives Environment Canada the grounds it needs to launch a Fisheries Act investigation."

Green's claim is supported by an expert paper prepared by biologist David Dillenbeck and included in the report. "Remedial measures must be taken to protect and upgrade the water quality of the St. Lawrence River," Dillenbeck concludes.


Toxic slick next to Technoparc
Federal laws such as the Canada Fisheries Act prohibit the discharge of toxic levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PAHs into waterways like the St. Lawrence River. PCB contamination of the St. Lawrence River has negatively affected beluga whale populations and has made eating fish in the river a public health risk.

Société pour Vaincre la Pollution has been actively protecting the St. Lawrence River for more than 30 years. EBI - Canada's only environmental group solely dedicated to investigating pollution crimes for the purposes of criminal prosecutions - began monitoring the Technoparc site in the fall of 2000.

The call for an investigation into contamination from the Technoparc site is supported by other noted environmental groups such as Save the River and Lake Ontario Keeper.

The full report of the Environmental Investigation Bureau is online at: http://www.e-b-i.net/ebi/index.cfm?DSP=content&ContentID=3950