Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health and Alberta Environment and Parks have reviewed preliminary data from testing on two parcels of land in the former Domtar site in northeast Edmonton, and the Alberta Government is taking further regulatory action to protect residents while ongoing sampling continues.
Preliminary sub-surface test results in the south of Verte Homesteader indicate high levels of dioxins and furans in the berm on the area known as Parcel C.
On the unoccupied land where the former wood-processing plant was located (referred to as Parcel Y), government directed the landowner to conduct additional soil testing. The company has now come back with surface test results from two locations near the centre of the parcel that showed very high levels of dioxins and furans.
These levels, more specifically on Parcel Y, represent a potentially significant human health risk to the workers conducting testing on the site. This will mean residents will see workers in the coming days wearing additional personal protective equipment and using decontamination facilities before they leave the site.
We can understand how this information may be distressing for nearby residents, but we want to assure you that the Alberta government and Alberta Health Services are taking appropriate measures that are protective to you.
For more information related to this issue, including an additional fact sheet, visit Alberta Environment and Parks’ website.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has reviewed the Surface Soil Quality for Parcel C prepared by Millennium EMS Solutions Ltd. This is the first phase of soil testing conducted in the Verte Homesteader neighbourhood and the undeveloped portions of parcel C including the berm.
This sampling, conducted in April 2018, focused on surface soil to a depth of 30cm. Surface soil test results in the Verte Homesteader community in northeast Edmonton found no health concerns in the surface soil for the homeowner properties in the neighbourhood.
There are four specific areas on parcel C, including the berm, where results show levels of dioxins and furans that exceed human health screening guidelines. There would be no immediate risk to the public from these areas. The affected areas are either already fenced off or will be soon by Alberta Environment and Parks as a precaution, to prevent the public from accessing them.
Exposure to these contaminants in large amounts or over long periods of time could lead to an increase in the risk to human health.
We encourage residents to avoid those four areas. In addition, more in-depth testing of the entire area, including a human health risk assessment, are underway and those results will be shared in the fall.
These results are preliminary and additional testing needs to be done on parcel C.
On Friday, March 16, 2018, AHS Environmental Public Health issued four Executive Officer’s Orders related to four separate parcels of land in northeast Edmonton that once housed a wood processing plant from 1924 until 1987.
The Executive Officer’s Orders required the owners to take immediate action to secure the site and restrict access, and put in place any measures such as fencing and signage, to minimize any potential health risks to members of the public in the immediate surrounding areas.
As of April 30, 2018 fencing and signage had been installed around the perimeter of the four parcels of land, restricting access to those sites.
On Tuesday, July 17, 2018, Alberta Health Services issued a letter to Cherokee Canada’s legal counsel directing Cherokee Canada to immediately provide appropriate and effective dust control measures for Parcel Y, among other things related to AHS’ Executive Officer’s Orders issued March 16, 2018.
Measures are enacted to limit the likelihood that residents could be exposed to contaminants from this site. These include the reinforcement of fencing around areas with known contamination and dust control measures are also being implemented to keep potentially contaminated soil from blowing off site.