Vale runoff saturated school board property for years – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Northern Life – November 02, 2015)

The Sudbury Catholic District School board property where toxic runoff from Vale’s slag piles allegedly seeped for decades, was often over-saturated, says a former manager who worked at the property.

Denis Faucher retired in 2013, but in October 2012, when a nearby resident reported seeing lime-green-coloured runoff in Nolin Creek, he was the manager of facility services for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board.

The facility services building, and surrounding property, is located at 199 Travers Street, near Vale’s large slag piles that line Big Nickel Road.

Faucher started to work at the facility in the late 1980s, and said even then he noticed coloured runoff coming down from the nearby slag piles.

“Especially in the early years, we always thought it was iron in the water coming through the rock,” he said. “It never dawned on us that it could have been something else.”

But in a search warrant Environment Canada filed on Oct. 8, which allowed the RCMP to search Sudbury’s Vale offices for evidence, the department alleged samples from the runoff at the school board property contained nickel 305 times above the regulated limit.

Samples taken in Nolin Creek, where the green runoff was first identified, showed nickel levels to be 68 times higher than allowed and copper levels 2.6 times higher.

In tests Environment Canada conducted on rainbow trout, samples of the green substance killed all the fish within 24 hours.

Faucher said the ground surrounding the facility services building was often saturated and was a constant annoyance. But he said he could not recall the building ever being flooded from the runoff.

In the search warrant, a memorandum issued on Nov. 19, 2012, estimated around 324,000 litres of water seeped from Vale’s slag piles onto the school board property every day.

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