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Sudbury Soils Study
Posted November 6, 2003 9:00:00 AM


SUDBURY – Work is being done to develop a series of displays and make technical experts available to meet members of the community, provide information and receive comments at an open house about the Sudbury Soils Study. The open house will be held Tuesday, November 25, 2003 at Science North from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. This will be the third such open house held by the Sudbury Area Risk Assessment (SARA) Group - the consortium hired to conduct the study – since the project began. In addition to the open houses, a series of community workshops were held this past spring.

During its monthly meeting with the study’s Technical Committee yesterday, the SARA Group reported that work being done includes developing a recommendation to narrow the geographic area of the study. Typically, studies of this type begin with a very large geographic area and once preliminary test results are collected, either narrowing or expanding the area to focus only on an area where impacts might be expected. “We began with a study area of 40,000 square kilometres, roughly the size of Switzerland, and we now need to look at narrowing that area,” says SARA director Chris Wren. “We know that emissions from industry can travel very far, but we want to focus our efforts in areas where there are potential impacts on human health and the environment. We expect to have recommendation on the final study area within the next couple of months.”

Other work being done by SARA and reported to the Technical Committee includes developing a master Access database for all the samples that have been collected over the past few years from a number of sources, and planning a technical workshop to tie into ongoing efforts being undertaken by Laurentian University at its annual Restoration Workshop to be held in February. Air monitoring also began on October 6, 2003, and the first samples have been submitted for analysis.

The SARA Group continues to review the soils data to determine the final list of chemicals of concern to be addressed. Preliminary chemicals of concern for the study were nickel, cobalt, copper and arsenic. Two more chemicals were added – lead and selenium – over the summer after the SARA Group recommended the study also take into account whether concentrations of these metals might also have an impact on human and environmental health.

“We are now comfortable that the six chemicals of concern we are studying are the ones we need to explore, but we remain open to the potential of adding other chemicals if we learn of any reason to add more,” Dr. Wren says.

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For more information, contact:

Dr. Chris Wren
SARA Group – ESG International
Toll-free: 866-315-0228

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