Officials with the Ministry of the Environment want to re-assure residents of Marathon there is no risk to their drinking water following the discovery of high levels of PCBs in ground water on the site of the dormant Marathon Pulp mill.
The discovery was made as a result of ministry testing on ground water following the fifth spill of industrial chemicals, known as black liquors, on mill property.
That incident occurred on April 4. The ministry says new lab results indicate PCB levels significantly above provincial water quality objectives. MOE-spokesperson Lisa Brygidyr confirmed former mill operators Tembec have been issued with a director's order to take immediate action. PCBs were historically used at the site and the company must now safely dispose of contaminated soil and ground water, prevent migration into Lake Superior and determine the size of the problem.
According to the MOE report, Tembec has hired a hazardous waste company to begin the containment. Brygidyr said the town of Marathon and neighbouring First Nation communities have been notified. Tembec has been besieged with problems regarding the mill clean up since last year.
A court hearing to determine who will be ultimately responsible for the mill is scheduled for August.