High levels of arsenic found in Rouyn-Noranda schoolyard

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An analysis by the Quebec Ministry for the Environment found arsenic levels 137 times higher than the provincial standard in metal dust found coating the Ruin Noranda schoolyard after the Horn Foundry incident.

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On March 7, a resident of Rowuin Noranda posted a photo of “black snow” on social media.

Six days later, the Ministry of the Environment sent a non-compliance notice to Glencore, which owns the foundry, citing the release of pollutants “because they have not remedied the contamination, thanks to Section 20 of the Environmental Act.”

On March 11, the ministry began analyzing snow samples collected from various locations around the city, four days after the residents’ photos were posted.

The results of those tests, released Wednesday, show that the land around the Notre-Dame-de-Protection elementary school had an arsenic rate of 4,130 milligrams per kilogram. This is 137 times the limit for arsenic present in soils around residential areas in Quebec.

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The news was first reported by Radio Canada.

Isabelle Fortin-Rondeau, a member of a local citizen’s group, was again upset to discover the news through the media rather than the local government.

“When[pollutants]blew from the foundry toward[local property]no one seemed alert. Neither the school board nor public health were concerned, but now was found to be highly contaminated with nickel, lead and arsenic.”

Fortin-Rondeau blamed the “lack of transparency” on the grounds that “the Ministry of the Environment did the analysis, so why would the journalists who got the copy of the report get the information?” The same thing happened when I learned that the houses were being demolished to create a buffer zone (around the foundry). I found out about it through the media. “

To get the results of these analyses, you need to search the ministry’s web page and open the subsection labeled “”.Réponses aux demandes d’accès aux documents.”

The ministry has yet to respond to questions from Press Canadiennes asking whether the government will provide information included in the tests to residents of Ruin Noranda.

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