Province provides Buchans residents with update on former mining properties

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Provincial government ministers and health officials met with residents of Buchans Wednesday evening in the community to discuss the results of a risk assessment study of the town's public spaces and residential properties.
Remediation plans were also outlined for several areas of the former mining properties that continue to contribute to the heavy metal contamination in the town.
Environment Minister Charlene Johnson, Health Minister Jerome Kennedy, Grand Falls-Windsor MHA Susan Sullivan attended the meeting.
"We made a commitment to the people of Buchans that we would address their public health and safety concerns, and we want to keep the residents informed throughout the process," Johnson said. "We want to share the results of the risk assessment that was conducted pertaining to the testing of public spaces and residential properties in the town.
"We also want to inform residents about our remediation plans for the tailings spill area and Mucky Ditch, two of the primary sources of contamination. Together, with the commitment our government made in Budget 2010 to address the tailings dams, we are responding to the concerns that were raised."
According to a news release, in 2009, testing was conducted around the perimeter of the town which identified levels of heavy metals in some of the samples which exceeded human health guidelines. Additional testing of public and residential properties was carried out by Conestoga Rovers Associates, as well as the risk assessment study.
Also present at the meeting was Dr. Ray Copes, an external medical consultant, who was retained by the Department of Health and Community Services to review community blood lead test results and the potential impacts on the health and well being of community residents.
"We certainly take this situation very seriously, and to that end we retained the services of Dr. Copes, a highly respected expert in the field of heavy metals contamination," Kennedy said. "Dr. Copes will continue to provide our government with recommendations to consider relating to heavy metal contamination in Buchans, as well as providing advice directly to the town about potential impacts on health and well being. I am pleased that we have been able to act quickly to ensure the health and safety of residents which is a foundation of this government."
The latest reports, as well as previous reports pertaining to the Town of Buchans, can be accessed at www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/Env/pollution_prevention.asp.

Organizations: Conestoga Rovers Associates, Department of Health and Community

Geographic location: Buchans

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