N.B. family battles Irving Oil over contaminated property
Anonymous - CBC News
December 19, 2008
A Moncton-area man is suing Irving Oil Ltd. over allegations that the company polluted his property, leading to health problems in his family.
Benoît Ouellet operated a gas station for 20 years in Notre-Dame, a small community in southeastern New Brunswick about 20 kilometres from Moncton. He said his family lived on property polluted by gas from the company's tanks, which leaked into his soil and well water.
'I got a little daughter who was bathing in the gas when she was three months old.'— Benoît Ouellet
While he still owns the land, in 1996 his family moved and abandoned the business after tests showed dangerous pollution levels. That same year, the company removed the tanks from the ground, leaving just the abandoned home on the property.
"It's super polluted," Ouellet said. He said his property has 600 parts per million of gas, which he said is "hundreds" of times higher than the acceptable levels.
Now Ouellet has painted anti-Irving messages on his abandoned home. The epithets include: "This land polluted by Irving," "Boycott Irving," and "Shame on you Irving."
The attempts to send a message to Irving Oil have produced little in response. Over the last year, Ouellet's lawyer sent 12 letters to Irving Oil but he has not received a single reply.
Irving Oil Ltd. refused a detailed interview about Ouellet's concerns because the matter is before the court. A company spokesperson said Irving Oil takes its environmental responsibility very seriously.
Ouellet said the Department of Environment told Irving Oil to clean up the contamination by August, but so far nothing has been done.