THE PORT OF QUÉBEC CONCLUDES ITS VERIFICATIONS
Québec, January 21, 2014 – The Québec Port Authority (QPA) has acted on its commitment from January 15 and proceeded with verifications to determine if the presence of red dust particles in the Limoilou sector could have come from the facilities on its territory.
Data collected by airborne particulate matter traps were analyzed over the last three weeks, from December 20, 2013, to January 10, 2014. This analysis allowed us to conclude that the Quebec standards for particle concentrations in the ambient air were not exceeded at any time. These standards are set at 0.030 mg/m3 for PM2.5 particles and 0.120 mg/m3 for total particles.
The traps showed that the concentration of particles was higher on the night of December 28–29, although the concentration was still below the abovementioned standards. Our verification also showed that at certain times over these two days, the average wind speed in the Beauport sector was 30 km/h, with peaks at 40 km/h, in the direction of Limoilou. Québec City also suffered severe winter conditions during this period. Iron ore was present on the Beauport sector terminal at the same time.
The combination of these factors may explain the presence of red dust within a limited section of Limoilou next to the port territory. However, the Port of Québec confirms that the provincial standards for particle concentration in ambient air were never exceeded.
It should be noted that this is the first year the mitigation measures have been implemented in the port territory and that a certain amount of adjustment is necessary in accordance with the severe winter weather conditions we saw last December.
In addition, verification was also conducted for the presence of dust on ice near the banks in the area of wharf 53. This incident occurred on January 5 during the unloading of an iron ore ship. The wind was in the direction of the river at the time, so no residential neighbourhoods were affect by the dust event. Environment Canada was advised and conducted an on-site inspection on January 9.
Regarding the discussion in recent days concerning jurisdiction for environmental incidents, the QPA doesn’t consider anything to have changed and reiterates that any dust event extending beyond its territory falls under Quebec’s jurisdiction. The QPA automatically notifies the MDDEFP’s Urgence-Environnement of any dust event that moves out of the port territory toward residential neighborhoods, since this falls under Quebec’s jurisdiction. In the case of an environmental incident that occurs on the river, the QPA automatically notifies Environment Canada, since this falls under federal jurisdiction.
The Port of Québec and its partners remain vigilant and are committed to making every effort to coexist harmoniously with the surrounding neighbourhoods.
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For additional information
Assistant Director, Sustainable Development and Community Relations
Québec Port Authority