Lead testing expanded to include Warfield and Casino

Trail mayor encourages parents to consider participation to help with future program development

For the first time, children from Warfield and Casino will be included in the fall lead testing clinic.

Parents of infants and toddlers (six to 36 months) who live, or spend the majority of their day in Trail, Rivervale, Warfield, Oasis, Casino or Waneta, are encouraged to participate in the voluntary program.

Slated from Sept. 10 to Sept 26, the clinics are managed by Interior Health and run out of the Kiro Wellness Centre.

“The areas of Warfield and Casino are included this year as planned in the five- year cycle,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin explained.

“We would encourage all parents to consider participation of their children as the information gathered provides an update on the current levels and assists in future program development,” he said.

“Without this voluntary participation it is difficult to gain a fair assessment of the many improvements that have been made over the years.”

Martin also provided an update on heavy metal emissions for the first five months of 2018, following the recent THEC (Trail Area Health and Environment Committee) meeting, of which he chairs.

The format of data presentation on air monitoring – which Martin describes as “robust and transparent” – has been modified to show monthly details on ambient lead and arsenic levels rather than quarterly averages.

“This provides greater detail on the impact of weather, predominant wind direction and operational variances,” he said. “As such, the information is more meaningful in understanding the reasons for monthly variances and the actions being taken to continue the efforts of improvement.”

For lead, the year-to-date average at Butler Park is 0.149 ug/m3. This number represents the lowest average lead level recorded to date, and remains below the THEC annual objective of 0.2 ug/m3.

The year-to-date average for arsenic at Butler Park is 0.009 ug/m3, which remains below the THEC annual objective of 0.01 ug/m3 and has held steady at this average since 2016.

“The value of the monthly statistics now being shown illustrates impact that a single month’s anomaly can have on the average,” Martin clarified.

“In this particular case, a single operational incident in one month raised the average for the period from 0.005 ug/m3.”

He added, “The committee was informed of the incident and the actions being taken to avoid similar issues in the future.”

Air monitoring in Trail is done at two stations – one at Butler Park and the other at Birchbank.

These two locations were identified, after years of study, as most representative of ambient air quality in the two dominant and typical wind directions from the smelter.

The stations continuously monitor air quality for both SO2 and particulate with the particulate being analyzed for both lead and arsenic.

Aside from lead testing clinics and air quality, Martin mentioned another program aspect that deals with yards and gardens.

“Soil assessment and yard/garden remediation work is underway again,” he explained. “With 101 properties tested in 2018 and seven of 12 yard and garden remediations completed, there are an anticipated 25 yard remediations planned for this year.”

Lastly, Martin says Teck continues to work with Interior Health and the Ministry of Environment on the formal Wide Area Remediation Plan as part of the regulatory requirements.

THEC is seeking interested community representatives to sit on the committee.

Community leadership and participation remains the foundation of the work of the committee and is essential to the success of the Trail Health and Environment Program.

Anyone interested in the program or in becoming a community representative should contact the office on Bay Avenue in Trail at 250.3683256.

Trail Daily Times