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Elmira groundwater cleanup tops $10 million

Gail Martin, Independent Editor

The price tag for the cleanup of Elmira’s contaminated groundwater being footed by Ontario taxpayers has passed $10 million.

Steve Martindale, regional project engineer with the Ministry of the Environment, provided an update on the ongoing cost to taxpayers at the July 26 Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting, at the request of CPAC members.

Martindale said that the MOE, which has agreed to cover 50 per cent of the costs of the cleanup, has paid $6.9 million in operating costs for the off-site containment and treatment system, along with $3.23 million on capital costs.

The annual cost works out to approximately $640,000.

Martindale had been asked to provide a sample invoice from Chemtura at the meeting, but was unable to do so.

Chemtura officials wanted to have the opportunity to remove confidential information, such as the names of companies used to conduct work on Chemtura’s behalf, prior to distributing the information.

Martindale said a typical bill would include hydro costs, which are higher when the system is functioning as it should, pumping at an optimal rate, as well as data lines used for alarms. Conestoga Rovers & Associates, a consulting firm for Chemtura, “also has a big chunk of the budget,” said Martindale.

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