Over 50% of contaminated Lac-Mégantic soil removed

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    Courtesy for Rey Mena

      The town of Lac-Mégantic is preparing for a sad and difficult commemoration this Sunday.

      A year ago, a runaway train exploded in the town center, levelling most of the buildings and killing 47 people.

      In our continuing special five-part series, CJAD 800 News will bring you stories about what has been happening in the town and with its residents over the past year.

      TODAY: The progression of the decontamination and cleanup of the disaster zone and other environmental impacts

       

      Paul Benoit, spokesman for the environment ministry on the Lac-Mégantic decontamination, told CJAD 800 News they are so far on time and on budget for excavating and removing the contaminated soil. Benoit said what's left is removing the contaminated soil from the area where buildings were destroyed by fire.

      "In terms of volume, about 50 to 60 per cent of it has been removed," Benoit said.

      Benoit said the soil is taken off-site where it will be treated. So far, over the past couple of weeks, over 215-thousand tonnes of soil have been treated.

      Benoit said the decontamination and cleanup should be done by December and the treatment of the soil completed by 2017. Benoit assured that they are constantly monitoring the air quality and washing down the trucks and roads to avoid spreading any contaminants.

      Benoit said they are still deciding what to do with the buildings on the site. They're not ruling out demolishing the most contaminated structures.

      "All scenarios are being analyzed," Benoit said.

      Benoit said the soil is taken off-site for treatment. So far, over the past couple of weeks, over 215-thousand tonnes of soil have been treated. The decontamination and cleanup of that zone will cost about 150 million dollars, with another 50 million for the Chaudière River. Test results for surface-water revealed fish, plants and drinking water are not impacted.  But environmentalists want reports about the river sediments made public. More samples were taken from the river three weeks ago.

      TOMORROW: The town's pastor on dealing with the grief of residents and looking to the future

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