|EMSB PROCEEDS WITH THE REMOVAL OF DECOMMISSIONED PCB TRANSFORMERS FROM ROYAL VALE FACILITY|
MONTREAL, OCTOBER 9, 2013 -The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) will proceed later this week with the removal of six PCB transformers from an old electrical room at Royal Vale School in NDG.
“Although the presence of the transformers do not pose any health risks, we have acquired a specialized firm to proceed with their removal,” said EMSB Director General Robert Stocker.
All of the Royal Vale parents were advised of the situation in a letter last week. EMSB Commissioner Albert Perez commended the Board for its quick action and wishes to reassure parents that there is no reason to be concerned. He is concerned by an anonymous letter being sent to the media, spreading false information.
Mr Perez volunteered at the Royal Vale Open House. “I spoke to many parents and they had no concerns, nor do I as the commissioner and a longtime parent volunteer at the school,” he said. “I believe the letter explained everything to them clearly and they felt reassured by it.”
Added EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini: “Rest assured that the security and safety of students and staff are the EMSB’s priority at all times.”
On Friday, September 20, the Montreal Fire department, Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal (SIM), visited the Royal Vale facility to investigate possible PCBs located in the basement. Principal Nathalie Lacroix-Maillette followed protocol and contacted the EMSB Material Resources Department for assistance. Once the location of the possible PCBs was established, EnviroServices, a professional engineering firm specializing in environmental issues, was engaged to assist the EMSB in evaluating whether PCBs were actually located in the school facility. Mineral oil samples were taken from transformers stored in an old electrical room in the building's basement and sent to an accredited laboratory.
Stated Mr. Stocker: “The results obtained indicated a very low concentration of PCBs, well below the 50 milogram per kilogram as per government regulations that would have forced us to react immediately. Regardless, we decided to act without delay, and an action plan was established between the EMSB, the SIM, and EnviroServices.”
The EMSB decided to remove the six transformers in two phases: to remove the contaminated liquids from the school premises as soon as possible to eliminate any potential risk and remove the transformer equipment. Phase One was successfully completed on September 28.
“We believe the six transformers were decommissioned in the 1990's and the proper environmental procedures were respected at that time,” said Mr. Stocker. “The transformers are located in a closed concrete room in the basement behind two firewall doors. The Fire department and EnviroServices confirmed that only a high concentration of PCBs become a health hazard when heated at a very high temperature caused by a severe fire, therefore, the air quality at Royal Vale School was never affected.”
Michael J. Cohen