Accidental spillage at the Port-Daniel-Gascons cement factory

The company says it has resolved the overflow quickly.

According to Votorantim Cimentos, which has owned Ciment McInnis since December 2020, the accident posed “no safety risk”.

The company also claims that the spilled cement was left on the cement factory site.

The communications manager, Maryse Tremblay, indicates that cleanup operations are underway. We are now working to prevent similar incidents in the future.wrote by e-mail Mrs Tremblay.

Urgence-Environnement confirms that it has been informed by the company about two episodes of cement dust emissions that occurred on Tuesday.

According to information obtained so far, both episodes were caused by equipment malfunctionexplains the communications advisor to the Ministry of the Environment and the fight against climate change, Daniel Messier. The problematic equipment has been shut down by the affected company and corrective work has been carried out to allow for a normal restart.

Two ministry inspectors were sent to the cement factory site on Wednesday “to document the situation and understand the circumstances surrounding these two events that took place on May 17.”

n’exclut aucun recours à sa disposition si des manquements à laLoi sur la qualité de l’environnement (LQE)ou aux règlements ont été commis”,”text”:”Le Ministèren’exclut aucun recours à sa disposition si des manquements à laLoi sur la qualité de l’environnement (LQE)ou aux règlements ont été commis”}}”>The Service does not exclude that it can be called upon in the event of violations of the Environmental Quality Act (SME) or regulations.says Daniel Messier.

Votorantim Cimentos declined Radio-Canada’s interview request, preferring to send a “state of the situation” by email.

Not the first incident at the cement factory

Dust emissions on properties adjacent to the cement plant occurred in both 2020 and 2021. The Ministry of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change has opened two investigations to shed light on these events. These are still running.

If, on the basis of the investigation report, it can be concluded after these investigations that there have been violations of the law, the file is submitted to the Director of Criminal and Criminal Affairs, who determines whether statements of violation must be submitted.explains a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

In addition, in parallel with ongoing criminal investigations, the Ministry is currently assessing any other means at its disposal to correct the situation and put an end to these atmospheric emissions

Green environment plus requires a safety audit

The environmental group Environnement vert plus cannot explain how such a flood could have happened.

How come the malfunction was not detected and the system was not turned off automatically?

A quote from Pascal Bergeron, spokesperson for Environnement vert plus

He makes a hypothesis: We have information from inside the factory that the programming has been poorly executed and that it is inadequate, that there are too many alarms and the real ones are drowning in a tidal wave of false signals.

To the environmental group’s spokesperson, this incident suggests: that the technical team behind the cement factory does not master the entire process well, that it has not been arranged after a number of years of running-in.

Green Environment Plus is calling for factory operations to be halted while a safety audit is being conducted at the cement factory.

It seems that every time there is a problem, it overflows and then the cement factory adjusts again, but these overflows are likely to have serious consequences for the population living in the area.complains Mr Bergeron. A preventive exercise must now be carried out so that such incidents cannot happen again.

Mr Bergeron finds it hard to believe that the dust that flew off during the cement overflow has no impact on the residents of the area, although Votorantim Cimentos claims the opposite.

The McInnis cement factory, in Port-Daniel-Gascons

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

Public health also conducts research

The regional public health department of Gaspésie-Îles de la Madeleine suggests there is a risk of respiratory irritation to people who inhale a large amount of cement dust. However, the long-term health risk is almost nil in the case of a single exposure, she said.

On the contrary, given the frequency of events regional public health claims confiscated† She would be working to estimate the risk of repeated exposure to cement dust.

We currently estimate that the chronic toxic risk is very low, but we believe that these types of accidents and their frequency can be a source of significant discomfort and stress for local residents since 2020, indicates the CISSS of the region.

On June 15, a meeting with the public will be organized by the Regional Public Health Service in Port-Daniel to present the health risks posed by dust from the cement factory, which have been continuously analyzed since 2020.

The environmental monitoring committee demands more transparency

The director of the Regional Council for the Environment Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and member of the cement factory’s environmental monitoring committee, Caroline Duchesne, were contacted by Radio-Canada on Wednesday morning and had not yet been informed of the incident by Votorantim. Cimentos.

After the physical events it was agreed that the cement factory would inform the committee of such incidents.notes Mrs. Duchesne.

Ms Duchesne regrets this lack of communication: It happened last night [mardi] and we have not yet been informed by Votorantim, the information comes to us from elsewhere.

Caroline Duchesne, Director-General, Regional Council for the Environment Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Caroline Duchesne, director-general of the regional environmental council Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and member of the environmental monitoring committee of the cement factory, expects more transparency from the company (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Martin Toulgoat

Caroline Duchesne expects great transparency from the company.

ans”,”text”:”C’est difficile de comprendre comment une usine flambant neuve peut avoir autant de bris que ça, on ne parle pas d’une cimenterie de 60ans”}}”>It’s hard to understand how a brand new factory can have so many fractures, we’re not talking about a 60 year old cement factorylaunches Mrs. Duchesne. On ne le sait pas. La population en générale a été très patiente, on a donné la chance au coureur, mais un moment donné, il va falloir que les incidents cessent.”,”text”:”Est-ce que c’est une mauvaise installation, des défauts de fabrication de pièce, une erreur humaine?On ne le sait pas. La population en générale a été très patiente, on a donné la chance au coureur, mais un moment donné, il va falloir que les incidents cessent.”}}”>Is it incorrect installation, parts manufacturing defects, human error? We do not know. The general population was very patient, we gave the runner a chance but at some point the incidents will have to stop.

Caroline Duchesne asks the company to speak publicly to explain what is happening at the cement factory.

I think it is the right of the population to be informed directly by Votorantim. I think we deserve answers.

A quote from Caroline Duchesne, Director of the Regional Environment Council Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Member of the Environmental Monitoring Committee of the Cement Plant

Green Environment Plus also invites Votorantim Cimentos to rendre des comptes publiquement“,”text”:”rendre des comptes publiquement”}}”> report publicly

% par des fonds publics, mais on n’a pas de réponses d’une fois à l’autre sur ce qui s’est passé, notamment concernant les émanations de poussières en2020 et2021″,”text”:”On a une usine de 1,5 milliard de dollars financée environ à 50% par des fonds publics, mais on n’a pas de réponses d’une fois à l’autre sur ce qui s’est passé, notamment concernant les émanations de poussières en2020 et2021″}}”>We have a $1.5 billion factory that is about 50% publicly funded, but we don’t have overnight answers to what happened, especially regarding the dust fumes in 2020 and 2021regrets Pascal Bergeron.

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