Environmental Health Risk Study
Study Finds Village of Deloro Safe
On July 22nd 1999, the Ministry of the Environment released the results of a comprehensive environmental health risk study in the Village of Deloro. Although levels of arsenic and other metals were found to be elevated due to a century of industrial activity and mining at the site, all of the analyses and expert opinion support the conclusion that under the range of conditions considered it is safe to reside in the village and its homes.
July 22nd Open House
On July 22nd 1999, the Ministry of the Environment held an open house in the Village of Deloro to release the results of the Environmental Health Risk Study. Ministry staff, expert consultants, and representatives from the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit were available to explain the results of the study and to answer any questions from the public. Staff were also available throughout the day for one-on-one consultations with residents to discuss the results of personal and property sampling.
Personal and property results were hand-delivered to residents on July 21st.
A press conference was held to provide the media with detailed information about study findings.
The Ministry's Follow Up Action Plan
As follow-up to the Deloro Village Environmental Health Risk Study the ministry committed to four actions: fencing the mine site, removing pockets of radioactive soil, reducing radon, and maintaining drinking water safety.
Fencing the entire mine site
- The Environmental Health Risk Study found that trespassing on the mine site can significantly increase health risk.
- To discourage trespassing the ministry fenced the entire mine site with eight kilometres of chain link fencing, 1.8 metres (six feet) in height, topped with barbed wire.
- The number of warning signs was increased to 264 along the perimeter of the site.
- This is the second fence the ministry has constructed at the site since it took control in 1979, but the first to surround the entire 242 hectares (600 acres) of the site. Danger signs, warning signs, and no trespassing signs have been posted at the site since MOE took control.
Removing pockets of radioactive soil
- The study found three small pockets of soil with slightly elevated levels of gamma radiation.
- The soil was well within safe levels, but was removed to ensure that any exposure to radioactive material is as low as reasonably achievable.
- The soil was removed to the Deloro Mine Site in November /December 1999.
- Workers wore normal work clothing, and "dosimeters" to measure their exposure to radiation.
- Workers were exposed to the equivalent of one quarter of the dose received during a dental x-ray.
- Material from the vacant property adjacent to the main entrance to the mine site was also removed.
- All material will be dealt with as part of final mine site cleanup.
- Ten homes showed levels above 1977 Federal/ Provincial Task Force criteria for radon, but below Health Canada radon guideline
- Re-sampling of those homes showed levels remain well below Health Canada criteria.
- The ministry is continuing to work directly with those affected to reduce radon levels.
- Radon reduction measures are currently being implemented in seven of the ten homes.
- All radon reduction work to be completed in 2001.
Maintaining drinking water safety
- Deloro's drinking water supply is safe.
- Deloro has one of the most comprehensively sampled water supplies in the province.
- The Deloro community well was added to Ontario Drinking Water Surveillance Program (DWSP) January 1999.
- The program provides ongoing assurance of water quality.