Fuel contamination found around CN yard

CN expects to know within the next two weeks to what extent diesel fuel may have leeched off its property in the Central Avenue area.
KGS Consulting is wrapping up a study on the site, where CN suspects the source of the contamination to be from an underground fueling facility that hasn’t been used in more than 10 years.
Ian Thompson, CN’s director of public affairs and community relations, said he didn’t know yet if private properties in that area were affected, or its plan to clean up the area.
“At this point, it’s too early to tell. It really depends on the extent and how it’s distributed,” he said yesterday from Toronto, noting that would be determined by the report.
But Thompson stressed CN, which he said initiated the study, did plan to clean up.
“There is something there. There’s no doubt about it,” Keith McLaughlin, environmental officer with the Ministry of Environment office in Kenora, said yesterday, adding the question now was how CN was going to tackle the clean-up.
But McLaughlin assured residents in that area didn’t have anything to worry about with the contamination, noting it would be a different story if homes there used wells for their water supply.
The ministry already has fielded question from one homeowner in that area.
“Fortunately, everyone there is on a communal water supply,” echoed John Barr, supervisor in the MoE’s Kenora office, adding there was a similar project underway in Sioux Lookout.
“[And] it’s a long way from the river,” he noted.
CN first became aware of the problem late last year as part of a company initiative to examine all of its properties. At that time, a first-level assessment revealed diesel fuel was leeching into the soil.
Thompson stressed CN was keeping both the town and MoE informed as to their findings, and will work with them on their clean-up plans.
Both Planning and Development manager Ted Berry and Operations and Facilities manager Jerry Tetu said yesterday they were aware the study was underway.
If there is contamination on private property, Barr said CN would have to get permission from property owners to go on to their land.
“We’ll keep on top of it,” Barr added, noting the ministry would follow up on CN’s clean-up plan.