The Government of Alberta recently issued an Enforcement Order to Cherokee Canada Inc. which requires the company to clean-up hazardous waste at a former creosote plant in Edmonton.

The creosote plant had operated from 1924 until 1987 and was purchased by a numbered company in 2010 from Domtar.  At that time, the plan was for residential development of the site.

As part of the redevelopment plan, a berm was built using contaminated materials from the site.  In 2015, the government requested that the soil from the berm be analyzed.

The recent Order requires the company to submit a written sampling and contaminant delineation plan of the berm.  A remediation plan must also be submitted.

Creosote is a thick, black, oily liquid that is a mixture of hundreds of chemicals.  The major chemicals in coal tar creosote are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenol, and creosols. Creosote is the most common product utilized to preserve wood in North America and is also used as a pesticide.  Mild exposure to creosote can result in breathing problems and skin irritation. Longer term exposure to creosote has been linked to cancer.

“First, we have to determine the nature of the contamination, and that would provide direction for how those sites would need to be remediated.  Our concern is that the contamination on those sites be addressed,” Alberta Environment spokesman Jamie Hanlon said with respect to the Enforcement Order.

Alberta Environment said the site is proposed for a residential development.  The department said the current site approval holders have failed to act upon numerous requests since last year for soil sampling results on the berm.