Residents deserve answers about Vale runoff – by Naomi Grant and Lilly Noble (Sudbury Star – November 13, 2015)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

What’s your reaction when you see your neighbourhood playground in the news in relation to contaminated runoff?

“We just moved in August from three houses down from the site. Kids played there all the time. A little pissed off right now that nobody alerted us to the problem.”

“I lived near there for 20 years … They knew all that time and didn’t inform any-one. Our kids played at that park since it was built.”

“Who is going to test my soil? Who is going to give us answers?” These are a few of the comments posted by residents in response to the news that Vale runoff saturated a school board property in the west end, the site of Travers playground, for years.

Residents have received no information from regulatory agencies, authorities or Vale. Let’s look at the information available so far.

In 2012, an independent study found that water from the slag storage area was seeping onto the property at a rate of 324,000 litres per day. Samples taken that same year showed that runoff at the property contained nickel 305 times above the regulated limit.

The property had been saturated with contaminated runoff since at least 1988, and possibly since 1963. Runoff ends up in Nolin Creek, which feeds into Junction Creek.

The Environment Canada enforcement officer has said he had reasonable grounds to suspect the company knew it was leaking contaminants into waterways since 1997. Sometime in 2012, the seepage collection was upgraded and since that time the runoff has been directed to a wastewater treatment plant before being released.

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