RTI whistleblowers say work has been happening on Ridley Terminal’s water filtering system, including the settling ponds, since a report outlining concerns of coal dumping.
“As soon as that paper came out, it wasn’t a week and things started happening … they’ve been going gung-ho in cleaning those ponds out. That seems to be where the focus has set,” one source told The Northern View.
“They’re madly working to make them work,” a second source said during a separate interview.
Another eyewitness said three fibreglass filtering tanks have also been put on-site to filter run-off water from ditches before the water runs into the first settling pond, and ditches previously permitted run-off water from RTI to leak into the ocean have been filled.
“If everything was in compliance why are there three big filtering systems for the water on site now? Why were there big machines working to clean out the settling ponds? Why are they filling in all the ditches on the beach so nothing runs into the water?” said the second source.
The other witness said sprayers have been turned on more often since the release of the report, and water trucks have been moving in the interior section of the coal yard spraying water on piles on the inside to prevent coal dust.
Following the release of the story, Environment Canada, the Prince Rupert Port Authority and RTI all announced they would be looking into coal-dumping allegations.
When contacted at the end of May, Mark Johnson of Environment Canada said the federal government was aware of allegations its Enforcement Branch was investigating.
More than two weeks later, Environment Canada was continuing to look into the matter.
“With respect to the allegations relating to Ridley Terminal, Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch is assessing the information which was recently presented in the media and will follow up as required,” said Laura Lauzon, media relations for Environment Canada, adding it would be “inappropriate to comment further at this time”.
A similar comment was made by Michael Gurney, the port’s manager of corporate communications, who said the PRPA is still examining all issues raised in the story.
“We continue to meet and communicate with RTI. This subject is obviously a matter of ongoing discussion,” he said, adding the port cannot comment on how long the process will be.
On May 30, RTI announced the operation was also conducting an investigation into concerns brought to The Northern View by on-site sources.
Messages left with Ridley Terminals chief operating officer George Dorsey were not immediately returned.