Hamilton politicians say the federal government is deliberating avoiding cleaning up the toxic contaminates at the John C. Munro International Airport, and leaving it to the municipality to take responsibility.
“They are simply avoiding it,” said Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark. “It looks like political subterfuge. They are pretty much blowing us off.”
Local environmentalist Dr. Joe Minor received some answers to a number of questions he asked the federal government ministries about the perfluoroctanesulfonic acid that has been the source of contamination within the area. The toxic chemical has been found in fish and wildlife at that Binbrook Reservoir.
Minor, in a recent interview, said he was pleased with some of the answers he received about the federal government’s involvement in contributing to the contamination. But he remained frustrated the government is washing its hands of any responsibility to clean it up.
“Nobody has asked for this,” said Glanbrook councillor Brenda Johnson.
She said the federal government, which owned the facility before the city took control in the 1990s, has the funding to clean it up. But, she said, the Conservatives are telling the city to pay for any remediation costs.
PFOS had been used in firefighting foam, which was used for training sessions at the airport during the 1980s. The chemical was added to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in May 2009, due to its persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic nature.
It is estimated the clean up costs could reach $2 million.
Politicians at their Sept. 12 council meeting agreed to send a “strongly worded” letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Councillors earlier this summer agreed to file a freedom of information request to the federal government for information about the firefighting activities at the airport, after the Conservatives told the municipality it won’t provide the city the information.