Slipping back: background facts

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by: 

Kate Aley

Welcome back. While I wait for my file on the accident (December 4) to be retrieved by the MRC des Collines police, I placed calls to two local people, experts on the trucking of manure. For those who are coming in late to this, see my previous "slippery" stories archived here.

First I called a man who owns a business that provides septic tank services among other things. He was particularly helpful and patient, I must say.

He told me that the appearance of septic waste totally depends on how many people use the tank and how often it is emptied: a heavily used tank could contain heavy black solids, a less-used tank would have a lot more watery material. Companies west of Gatineau generally truck the waste to UTEau at the Pontiac Industrial Park situated in the Municipality of Litchfield (often mistakenly identified as being in Portage-du-Fort). Septic waste trucking services based on the other side of Gatineau are more likely to use more locally-based waste treatment sites, except for one in particular that actually owns the UTEau site and so transports waste from the Montebello area across the city to the Pontiac.

When asked about the possibility of a leak, his response was, at first, adamant: it is not possible. The tank must be able to maintain an unbroken vacuum in order for the pump to operate, both to suck up the load and afterwards to discharge it. Later, another thought occurred: if the truck has a release control in the cab, an accidental spill could occur.

Emptying a household septic tank in cold weather is not generally recommended, he said. The bacteria that help consume waste in a septic tank slow down in cold weather. Therefore, if it is emptied in sub-zero temperatures, they could become too cold to be effective. 

Human septic waste is kind of revolting but not actually dangerous, no more dangerous to your health than if you touched your own waste and did not wash your hands. Far more risky is the possibility of a gas build-up in the tank used to transport septic waste:this is a danger only for the operator, of course. Septic waste is treated by raising temperatures to a level that kills pathogens, as with compost. The resulting material can used as a fertilizer for fields, the safety of which is another whole argument.

So, in short, while unlikely that septic sludge was being trucked at this this time of the year and very unlikely that a truck would leak or spill that waste, it is possible.

After this I called another very kind and patient man who was once a pig farmer in this district. I was sure that pig manure was the only kind of animal manure that is stored and transported in a liquid state, but he corrected me.

Dairy cattle manure can be stored in a pit, tank or lagoon and this is transported to fertilize fields in large tanker trailers. However, this is generally done in the spring or early fall: to spread manure on fields after October 1st requires a special permit from the Ministry of the Environment. This is not hard to get, but it's something to avoid having to get, he said.

There are some dairy farms in Luskville; there are no more pig farms here.

Again, in summary, it is unlikely but possible the spill was animal manure.

The culprit was not discovered and is not currently sought by the MTQ.

It remains to be discovered if that person is being sought by the police and, if found, if he or she will be charged. You'll know when I find out.

Drive safely, everyone.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Elle est ici: la fierté de la population rehaussé

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by: 

Kate Aley

translation: 

Guy Faubert

 

 

Jetez un coup d'oeil à votre boîte aux lettres.  Une nouvelle impression de la carte de la municipalité de Pontiac sera en circulation dans quelques semaines, montrant tous les quartiers et les détails compliqués des routes et des chemins de notre municipalité, avec les chemins existants le long des plages.  Cette carte a été créée pour remplacer l'ancienne version qui n'est plus à jour.

We are here: new municipal map helps residents feel pride

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by: 

Kate Aley

 

Watch your mail boxes! A brand new map of the Municipality of Pontiac (MoP) will be on its way you within the next few weeks. Showing the entire area of the municipality as well as details of the more complicated street systems in villages and along the beaches, the map was created to replace a much older black and white version that had become obsolete.

Un cadeau pour les yeux:deux Jardins locaux comme sites

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by: 

Kate Aley

translation: 

Guy Faubert

Papillons, oiseaux et mélisse......Les 5 et 6 août, six des plus remarquables jardins de la région exposeront pour le Gardens and Gift Tour.  Selon la publicité, cet événement est un tour qui mettra en vedette des jardins de campagne de la partie la plus à l'ouest du Québec, c'est-à-dire la belle région du Pontiac.

Les réparations sur le pont Egan affecteront la circulation

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by: 

Kate Aley

translation: 

Guy Faubert

Le sept juillet, le Ministère des Transports du Québec annonçait que des réparations allaient être effectuées au pont de la rivière Quyon sur le chemin Egan à partir du 10 juillet.

New walking group gets community moving

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by: 

Kate Aley

Countless medical studies have proven that regular exercise is vital for health and mobility. Now Pontiac has one more opportunity to get up and go. Pontiac Walks (PW) is a new initiative created by the Groupe de ​Médecine Familiale (GMF) based in Shawville to encourage people to take regular walks.

Above, RN Katie Taylor is laced up and ready to hit the pavement.

A gift for the eyes: garden tour features two local sites

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by: 

Kate Aley

Butterflies, birds and bee balm... on August 5th and 6th, six remarkable gardens across this region will be on show at the Gardens and Gifts Tour. According to publicity, the event is "a self-guided garden tour featuring country gardens in West Quebec’s beautiful Pontiac region".

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