• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion will review using calcium chloride as dust suppressant


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said the city will review whether it will continue to use calcium chloride as a dust suppressant in the de la Seigneurie district after resident Marie-Claude Dupuis presented a 12-signature petition asking council to consider using a more eco-friendly alternative.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon was asked to reconsider using calcium chloride as a dust suppressant on the city’s rural dirt roads after a petition was presented by a resident at the Monday evening council meeting, May 16.

Marie-Claude Dupuis, a teacher at Hudson’s Westwood Senior High School and a chemist, gave the 12-signature petition to Pilon after appealing to council to consider finding an alternative to spraying the dirt roads in the de la Seigneurie district that borders Hudson, Rigaud and St. Lazare.

Dupuis, along with resident Christian Bourgon, appealed to council and asked them to find a more eco-friendly solution, saying they were worried about possible contamination of their water wells and the environmental consequences of using calcium chloride.

“The city says it’s no big deal, but there’s no proof,” Dupuis told Your Local Journal. “I’m a chemist and I don’t want to drink this if it leaches into my surface well. Instead of putting a chemical to reduce dust, just put pure gravel on the road so that calcium chloride will not have to be applied.”

Pilon replied that the chemical composition of the dust suppressant that was used to spray the roads eight years ago was different than it is now and the city doesn’t foresee any problems with the new mixture. He added that using large gravel isn’t practical because of the high volume of vehicles that travel along the dirt roads.

Other residents at the meeting said the dust that is kicked up by vehicles is a serious health and nuisance issue and asked to city to begin this year’s dust suppressant application as soon as possible. Pilon said the city sprays its dirt roads twice annually, mid-spring and mid-summer. “It’s impossible to live there unless you use some method of dust reduction,” said Pilon.

Dupuis presented the petition directly to Pilon along with alternatives that the city could use instead of calcium chloride. Pilon replied the city will review the suggestions and get back to Dupuis by Friday, May 20.

“We are going to look into her comments for sure,” said Pilon. “If there’s a more eco-friendly product available, we will use it but there will be a dust suppressant application that will be done on those streets. We will use a product that will have the least environmental impact,” said Pilon.

Fort McMurray fire victims

Council also adopted a resolution to donate $5,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to help fire victims in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Raging forest fires the past two weeks have decimated the community forcing its 80,000 residents to evacuate.

Pilon said the donation is meant as a show of support for the beleaguered community’s residents who are undergoing very difficult circumstances. In July 2013, the city donated $10,000 and sent a brigade of firemen and fire trucks for five days to the Eastern Townships community of Lac-Mégantic to help with rescue and clean up efforts after oil tanker cars derailed and exploded, decimating the downtown core.

“It’s very sad,” said Pilon. “As a mayor and as a community, if something were to happen here we would appreciate receiving help from everywhere. It’s about helping another community because you never know what can happen.”

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