Environmental Standards: East Montreal citizens are not surprised to find the CCR refinery in the list

Environmental Standards: East Montreal citizens are not surprised to find the CCR refinery in the list

Montreal East residents aren’t surprised that giant Glencore’s CCR refinery finds itself on the list of companies allowed to deviate from certain environmental standards. Most would like to see the factory comply.

• Also read: The Horne Foundry isn’t the only one: 89 companies have the right to pollute the environment in Quebec

The QMI agency spent part of Wednesday in the area where the copper and other precious metals refinery is located. Of the fifteen citizens we met, some said they were concerned about the potential impact of the facility on their health, while others were not overly concerned, explaining that CCR has had a presence in the neighborhood for decades.

The complex overlooks a residential area. Some houses are just over a hundred meters from his property. The noise generated by its activities can easily be heard in the neighborhood as well. Many of the people we met worked at the plant or have relatives who worked there.

Environmental Standards: Citizens of East Montreal are not surprised to find the CCR Refinery on the list

However, everyone agrees that emissions are far less severe today than they were at the beginning of the millennium and that the situation has apparently improved.

“It’s a lot worse than before. Twenty years ago it was disgusting. It has changed by 75%, estimates Ronald Cloutier, a retiree who has worked at the plant for 35 years. Emissions fell on the tanks, and even twice I got paid for painting.

However, some people note that the dust associated with the releases is very present.

“I have to wash my patio outside every day. The factory is also noisy. We can’t open the windows to sleep, there’s always noise,” lamented Manon Gignac.

Environmental Standards: Citizens of East Montreal are not surprised to find the CCR Refinery on the list

However, Stéphane Giguère, whose spouse works at the refinery, is unsure whether these discharges are being caused by the Glencore facility or by one of the many refineries close to the sector.

“We’ve always had a garden. The other thing that worries me is that these products can end up in our food,” he said.

As a young father, Francis intends to relocate within two years, particularly given the situation in the industry. “We carry out a follow-up visit with the doctor every year. I know the effects are longer term, but I’m not noticing anything yet.”

At press time, Glencore had not responded to QMI Agency’s questions, although it confirmed it had received them.

“Very low” risks

The Direction régionale de santé publique (DRSP) in Montreal has investigated the emissions associated with the CCR copper refinery on a number of occasions and published recommendations on atmospheric emissions to air in East Montreal in 2018, 2020 and 2022.

“We mentioned in the CCR notification that the exceedances observed posed a very low risk to the population in the vicinity of the refinery. These levels are too low to observe health effects in people living near the refinery,” DRSP spokeswoman Marianne Paquette said via email.

Environmental Standards: Citizens of East Montreal are not surprised to find the CCR Refinery on the list

Screenshot, TVA Nouvelles

Nevertheless, the DRSP considers it “essential” to reduce emissions so that the population is not chronically exposed to “concentrations higher than those required by the standards”.

polluting companies

In 2018, our Bureau of Investigation revealed that CCR exceeded allowable standards for emissions of arsenic, a cancer-causing substance.

The Metropolitan Community of Montreal (CMM) admitted it was unaware of the nature of the exemptions granted to the two companies based on its territory, although it has its own regulations on air and water discharges that the companies adhere to have to hold.

“[Le MELCC] may make exceptions for other articles to which our rules do not apply and for which he has full jurisdiction. The CMM therefore has no authority to intervene,” spokeswoman Julie Brunet said via email.

Krupack packaging ensures compliance with standards

Emballages Krupack, which is also on the MELCC list and has a board mill in the LaSalle sector, ensures that all applicable standards are met.

“For all Kruger facilities in Quebec, we respect the standards. We do not benefit from an exemption or a waiver. No worries in our case,” assured Jean Majeau, senior vice president of business, via email.

Do you have any information about this story that you would like to share with us?

Do you have a scoop that might be of interest to our readers?

Write to us or call us directly at 1-800-63SCOOP.