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Residents say Quebec landfill fumes and fire causing illness

Three men from Cantley, Quebec have complained about serious lung problems they say are related to toxic fumes from...


Three men from Cantley, Quebec have complained about serious lung problems they say are related to toxic fumes from a dry landfill that has been the site of an ongoing fire.

The province’s environment ministry met with residents last week after several months of complaints about a rotten egg odor and fires inside the landfill.

Since last summer people near the landfill, which accepts construction debris, have complained about headaches and burning throats plus dying vegetation, shrubs and trees. Environmental and health officials say the facility is emitting hydrogen sulphide gas that in some spots could kill workers. The gas is thought to be caused by decomposing drywall. Other gases detected include methane and aromatic hydrocarbons.

Quebec’s Ministry of Health has asked workers to wear respirators, but they have not been used. At 40 parts per billion, the gas concentration in the neighborhood is considered a nuisance and irritant.

Residents have complained about a fire and fumes since the end of December. Some say a low-level fire has burned at the site for a year. The site owner expects to extinguish the fire within five weeks by leveling the site and mixing it with sand. The landfill site is then to be covered with clay, or some other fill, to reduce the amount of hydrogen sulphide escaping into the air.


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