Residues of wood pellets transhipped at Foulon Cove were deposited on the ice of the St. Lawrence River at the end of January. Evidence from citizens that even the provisioning of solid bulk, promised for the expansion of the port in the Beauport area, does not guarantee a dust-free environment.
Le Soleil received by e-mail photographs too fuzzy to be published but showing nevertheless a spill color of wood. They were taken on 24 January from the Merici Gardens, which have views of the cove at Foulon.
Marie-Andree Blanchet, spokesperson for the Quebec Port Authority, confirms that the author of the photos used the complaints line to report the incident.
“The event was related to residual dust when the vessel was loaded [the only contact point of the pellet with the open air] and not with the sealing of the terminal and its operations. Residual dust remained on our facilities [very localized problem] and had no effect in the community. Since the beginning of the operations of the terminal of granules, this is the first time that a problem of dust is reported to us. We asked the operator to take corrective action to minimize the maximum risk of recurrence of the problem, we are following the issue very closely, “she wrote in response to questions from the sun .
In a telephone interview, Johanne Lapointe, vice-president of corporate affairs for operator Arrimage Quebec, said that the loading of the pellets into the hold of the ship to be delivered to Europe was completed when a wind squall swept through the residues. Being accumulated on the bridge.
This would not otherwise have been possible since the pellets are never transferred to the open air thanks to conveyors entirely under cover, from the train to the silos, then from the silos to the boat. During a visit to its new Foulon facilities in August 2014, Arrimage Quebec presented them as “the safest in the world”.
“To prevent this from happening again, cleaning will now be done continuously when the weather is uncertain,” explained M me Lapointe. “It’s wood, we do not talk about something harmful. But again, we take this very seriously, “she insisted.
The Quebec Ministry of Environment, with which the two organizations are at loggerheads legally, was not notified at the time, but asked retrospective questions DPA on the circumstances of the accident .
For Alain Samson, president of the Neighborhood Council of Old Quebec-Cap-Blanc-Hill, this proves that there is always a danger of dust around the Port. “You can have cover operations with the best technologies and the best processes, you are never immune to gusts or technical incidents,” he says. “A chance it was wood pellets. If it had been other types of products … ”
Other citizens also shared their concerns, not necessarily wanting their name to appear in the newspaper.
At the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) hearings earlier this month, intervenors argued that zero risk did not exist for dust, although the Port Covered all trans-shipment activities at the future multi-purpose wharf in Beauport Bay. This is in particular the position taken in the briefs of the Citizens ‘Citizens’ Vigilance Initiative of the Port of Quebec and the Port Vigilance Committee.