Thursday, July 9, 2009

Coast Guard Removed 650 bags of Contaminated Sand From Islands Dunes

The Canadian Coast Guard discretely unearthed 650 bags of sand that had been contaminated with PCB’s from the west beach of the Magdalen Islands last May.

These bags had been the waste of heavy oil that had been released into the Gulf when the oil barge Irving Whale sank in September 1970.

In December 2008, one of the islanders had found one of the bags on the West Beach, but because of snow and high tides, the work to recuperate the bags had been postponed until May 2009.

The recuperation of the bags left a large hole of around 25 square meters in the dune. More work will be necessary to restore the site, explained the superintendent of the Coast Guard, Martin Blouin, “The work has cause a cavity but not a breach, very near the area of the lagoon, therefore there will be some consolidation of the dune to do.”

It has been 39 years since the barge, Irving Whale sank to the north of Prince Edward Island, causing black sea on the beaches of the west side of the Archipelago. At that time, the authorities had decided to bag the contaminated sand that had been soaked with the oil and bury the bags in the dunes of the islands.

Some 200,000 bags in all had been buried. The burial sites had not been recorded. Since the ship wreck, 7000 bags have been found.

The Coast Guard will present it’s action plan to the municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine this fall.

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