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The Huntsville Forester (Ontario): Shell Canada to conduct testing

by Carlye Malchuk
Oct 31, 2007

Fuel company Shell Canada will be conducting an environmental site assessment at Avery Beach in the coming weeks to determine if there was any leaching of petroleum products into the park.

In the late 1920s the Canadian Oil Company acquired property adjacent to the park that was used as a bulk plant.

The site was taken over by Shell in 1965 but has not been used as a bulk plant for at least 25 years, said John Peck, who works in the communications department at Shell Canada.

“We propose to drill holes (at the beach) to take groundwater and soil samples,” he said in an e-mail to the Forester. “These samples will be tested for petroleum impacts.”

Peck said the testing was being done because results from the bulk plant site showed “petroleum contamination that exceeded applicable Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) standards.”

The testing, which Peck expects to be completed this fall, had to go to town council for approval because the park is on municipal property.

Council approved an agreement between the town and Shell at their last council meeting on Oct. 15.

At the meeting Mayor Claude Doughty told council that discussions on the agreement had taken place for about eight months, and that the town’s solicitor had examined the agreement and was satisfied that the town’s exposure was limited.

Doughty later told the Forester that he had also been apprised by the town’s lawyers that the same legislation that requires Shell to conduct the testing also requires them to clean up anything they find.

Peck said that the overriding legislation was the Environmental Protection Act. He said that the results from the municipal property will be shared with the town.

“Shell will take responsibility for any issues arising from our former operation at this site,” said Peck. “If petroleum impacts in excess of MOE standards are found and it’s determined they emanated from our former operation, we will work co-operatively with the MOE and the Town of Huntsville to determine the most appropriate course of action.”

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