Arsenic at the Horne Foundry: the government requires 15 ng/m3 within 5 years

Arsenic at Horne Smelter: Government requires 15 ng/m3 within 5 years

BET À DAY

The government has decided to follow Public Health recommendations: it will require the Horne Smelter to reduce its arsenic emissions to a ceiling of 15 nanograms per cubic meter within five years.

This new limit is nearly seven times lower than the current standard, which allows the smelter to release up to 100 nanograms of arsenic per cubic meter into the air. It must be reached by 2027, at the end of “the period covered by the renewal of the [ministerial] authorization” of the establishment, indicated the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change ( MELCC).

“We turn the page on a certain era. It is an 85% reduction that we are asking the company to achieve, neither more nor less,” argued the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Benoît Charette, during a conference. press release in Rouyn-Noranda, Monday afternoon.

According to the Minister, this is an “important step” in the process aimed at bringing the company to comply with the standard Quebec, which remains five times lower than the requirement presented today.

“We're giving ourselves five years to reach 15 ng/m3, but we don't lose sight of the fact that our goal is to reach 3 ng/m3,” said Mr. Charette.

Other requirements

The foundry will also have to meet intermediate targets to gradually reduce its polluting emissions, and it will have to meet a daily standard. “We will not accept that during years one, two, three, four, we remain at 100 ng/m3”, launched the Minister of the Environment.

The government will also require the company to continue characterizing and decontaminating land in Rouyn-Noranda.

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“These are not wishes that we express at the Foundry, they are conditions that will be imposed on them, and there will be consequences if it does not achieve these objectives (…). In the sanction and control regime, there are fines. There are also possibilities of an injunction,” explained Benoit Charrette, recalling that the government does not rule out closing the plant if Glencore fails to comply with these requirements.

For For its part, the MELCC will install “several” new sampling stations in order to accentuate the air quality monitoring network. Without specifying their number, Benoit Charette assured that the government “will put the number of stations necessary”. An online consultation will also be held from September 6 to October 20.