Stockpiled contaminated soil at a brownfield site was dispersed onto neighbouring properties in the Town of Sept-Îles, Quebec after a blizzard blew off the tarps that covered the contaminated soil.
Following the storm, neighbours began to complain about the persistent smell of gasoline when they stepped outside. Concerns have been expressed by town folk that the contaminated soil will continue to impact more properties over time.
The source of the petroleum-impacted soil is the former Moisie military base. The contaminated soil was excavated in the summer of 2016 and stored on site. The storage piles were covered with tarps.
It is uncertain as to why the soil was not treated or removed prior to winter. The Canadian Department of National Defence had awarded SNC-Lavalin, headquartered in Montreal, to $3 million contract to remediate the site.
Besides assurances to neighbours by the DND that tarps will be more securely tied down on the remaining stockpiles there is no plan on dealing with the contaminated soil that has blown onto neighbouring properties and the Moisie River.
The Town of Sept-Îles became home to RCAF Station Moisie in the late 1950s, when the Royal Canadian Air Force established a Pinetree Line early warning radar station nearby. The facility was later renamed CFS Moisie and closed in the 1980’s.