City of Red Deer charged in alleged release of PCBs

The City of Red Deer faces charges for an alleged release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The City of Red Deer faces charges for an alleged release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

An Environment Canada investigation found the city released a substance from an Electric, Light and Power transformer station sometime between May and October 2010. The release, which exceeded the allowable two mg/kg, occurred during the removal of electrical transformer coolant containing PCBs.

PCBs are toxic chemicals linked to cancer in humans and animals.

The charges relate to release, improper storage, failure to timely report and remedy the release.

Canadian legislation has allowed owners of PCB equipment to continue using PCB equipment until the end of its service life.

The storage of PCBs has been regulated since 1988.

The city was made aware of the release Oct. 21, 2010 and notified Alberta Environment four days later, on Oct. 25.

Following the notification, the city was investigated to determine its compliance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Paul Goranson, the city’s director of Development Services, said in a news release, “This incident was confined to a small site and was therefore not felt to be a public safety concern.

“Unfortunately, in this case, we were not in compliance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and as a result we have been ticketed with six violations under the act.”

Goranson said the city has co-operated fully with Alberta Environment and Environment Canada investigators and reviewed its procedures and standards to meet or exceed those required by the federal legislation.

The charges will be heard in court Nov. 6.