Residents concerned about possible water contamination following Eastway Tank blast

Residents in Ottawa's Pineglen neighbourhood are voicing concerns about possible contamination to their drinking water as a result of the Eastway Tank explosion.  

"They keep telling us the risk is low but it's been mostly based on the fact that the ground is frozen," said Agnes Warda with the Glens Community Association.  

Multiple investigations into the cause of the blast and fire that followed on Jan. 13 are ongoing. Six people were killed. 

"We not only worry what will happen in the spring, we also worry what will happen in a year's time or even in the longer term because, as you know, whatever comes through the ground eventually comes through the water but it goes slowly," Warda said.  

Some former Eastway Tank employees, including the son of one of the victims, have alleged numerous safety issues at the site including previous fires, improper chemical storage and dumping material by the train tracks. The president and owner of the company says the allegations are unfounded.  

In a statement to CTV News about the allegations last week, Neil Green wrote in part, "Eastway Tank has always worked to maintain the highest safety standards. We are working closely with investigators and are cooperating fully to get to the bottom of what happened." 

A Ministry of Environment spokesman said there continues to be a low risk to the environment from the fire.

"The ministry is working to ensure that any environmental impacts are identified and addressed by the property owner before spring," the statement said. "At this time, there continues to be a low risk to the environment from the Eastway fire given current extreme winter conditions. 

"Resident concerns about fuel are a key part of the ministry’s ongoing assessment at the site; they are taken very seriously."

Warda and others are looking for clearer answers long-term.  

"We feel fine that when they say we are not in immediate danger but we would like to know what will happen next."