For several years, residents of the eastern part of Montreal have been worried about arsenic in their air, but the city announced new measures on Monday they hope will have residents breathing easier.
In 2018, the city detected levels of arsenic in the East End that were nearly twice the provincial norm. While arsenic does occur naturally, high levels can be toxic and the city said the elevated levels were coming from a Canadian Copper Refinery facility.
Riviere-des-Prairies-Pointe-Aux-Trembles Mayor Caroline Bourgeois assured residents that “There is no impact on the citizens’ health” and that arsenic levels dropped after CCR installed a dust collector.
To detect other possible sources of the element, the city is installing more air quality monitoring stations. The city will make a decision on how many stations will be installed and their location after updated air quality studies are conducted.
Around $650,000 will be added to Montreal’s 2021 budget to build the new stations, which will require an estimated $160,000 annual operating cost.
“It’s about our health, about the quality of life in the east of Montreal,” said Bourgeois.
Eastern Montreal Industrial Association spokesperson Dimitri Tsingakis acknowledged the city’s industries have a role to play in cleaning up the air.
“Throughout the years, industry has implemented all sorts of technological measures to reduce its emissions, be it changing fuel types, changing burner types, adding filters,” he said.