Latest News

May tests show elevated dioxin, furans around DYEC

Regional consultant says waste facility unlikely to be the cause of the spike

Ambient air testing around the Durham York Energy Centre indicated a dioxin/furan concentration was slightly above regulated limits.

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

A regional consultant has deemed an exceedance in dioxins, and furans in the vicinity of the Durham York Energy Centre cannot be linked to the facility itself.

The increased levels of dioxins and furans were measured at the ambient air monitoring station near the Courtice Waste Pollution Control Plant on May 26.

Ambient air testing results indicated a dioxin/furan concentration was slightly above regulated limits.

“This is a microscopic exceedance,” says Gio Anello, manager of waste planning for Durham Region.

After an exceedance, the region must investigate and report back to the Ministry of Environment.

Consulting firm Stantec Inc., who investigates exceedances on behalf of the region, claims it is “unlikely” the DYEC represents the cause of the elevated concentrations.

The report also states the excessive levels of dioxins and furans “is not expected to have resulted in an adverse effect on human health or the environment.”

Dioxins and furans are contaminants created through various sources such as the burning of municipal waste.

Regional testing occurs every 24 days over a 24-hour period.

A staff report sent to regional council on Aug. 3 shows that results in the previous six tests before May 26, and the one following, were well below provincial regulations.

Elevated levels were also measured at the region’s two other ambient air monitoring stations, but within ministry regulations.

Anello says the Courtice monitoring station was not upwind of the DYEC on that date.

For this reason, he agrees with Stantec’s finding that the facility was not the likely cause of the spike.

He says it was likely “a regional issue,” meaning something could have occurred that day somewhere else in the area.

“All three stations were being impacted. There could have been so many different things, you couldn’t pinpoint a location. You would call that a regional impact,” he says.

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks is undergoing its own assessment of the tests.

“We’ve not heard anything back as of yet,” Anello told The Oshawa Express.

The region has dealt with three previous ambient air exceedances, all of which involved other contaminents.

In all three cases, Stantec has ruled the DYEC was unlikely to represent the cause.