Released February 25, 2000

Environmental study of
Octagon and Rocky Ponds continues

The Town of Paradise and Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) today released the latest findings of the ongoing environmental study of Octagon and Rocky Ponds. A joint statement was made today by  Joan Marie Aylward, Minister responsible for NLHC and Mayor Dianne Whalen of Paradise.

The latest findings are positive and show that there is no evidence that detected levels of contaminants in the pond water, the pond sediment, or the fish, present any known risks to the public.

"The information provided here today is the most current available and has been thoroughly assessed by the Departments of Environment and Labour and Health and Community Services,” said the Minister. “While evidence indicates that there is no cause for concern regarding contaminants, to be absolutely sure, I have asked Jacques Whitford Environmental Limited (JWEL) to conduct a health and ecological risk assessment of Octagon and Rocky Ponds.  The target for completion of this study will be prior to the summer recreational season.” 

Mayor Whalen said, “This study has provided a good insight into the scope and nature of environmental issues for this site.  Given the recreational use of Octagon Pond, in particular, it is important that the public be informed. The Council will continue to work closely with NLHC and other Government departments to ensure the matter remains a priority.”

The following are key findings from Phase 3 of the assessment conducted by JWEL:  

  • Metals measured in pond water from Octagon Pond and Rocky Pond are within Canadian Water Quality Guidelines values and, there is no evidence it could cause harm to humans. No Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) or Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) were detected in the pond water;
  • The study indicates that low levels of TPH compounds, PCBs and metals exist in the sediment, however, the measured concentrations of these contaminants in the sediment at Octagon Pond and Rocky Pond are not presently causing adverse environmental effects in the ponds or the benthic invertebrate community (small spineless organisms residing in the upper level of pond sediment);
  • Though some fish from Octagon and Rocky Ponds contain trace amounts of PCBs, these concentrations are less than one tenth of the guideline for PCBs in marketable food, issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. There is no evidence that consumption of fish from Octagon Pond or Rocky Pond presents a risk to human consumers.  
The Minister and Mayor said they would continue to keep the public informed as the health and ecological risk assessment is conducted.

For further information, contact:  
Jenny Bowring, Corporate Communications  
Telephone:  (709) 724-3055