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What you need to know about heavy metals in Hollinger Park

The Porcupine Health Unit with the City of Timmins has notified the public about higher than normal levels of lead, arsenic and antimony in the surface soil in various areas of Hollinger Park.

We acknowledge the potential risk of the presence of heavy metals however, want to reassure users that we do not expect any adverse health effects from exposure to the soil from normal use of the park.

While the levels found are above what would be found in most parks, they are well below those found in many similar communities in Ontario and Canada with metal smelters or past mining activities.

There are precautions visitors can take when visiting the park to reduce exposure while the City undertakes a more comprehensive assessment:

  • Wash your hands after spending time at the park, and before eating;
  • Remove outdoor footwear before entering your home;
  • Clean any soil or dust that is brought into the home by sweeping, mopping or vacuuming the floors; and
  • Brush pets with a damp brush after time spent at the park and before entering the home.
Background Information

In 2016, the Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) met with the City of Timmins and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (now Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks) to review soil sampling of Hollinger Park.  Previously known as Miller Lake, Hollinger Park was backfilled with mine tailings in the early 1900s.  After extensive review with toxicology experts at Public Health Ontario, the PHU recommended: I) information be provided to the public, as above, and posted at the park; II) enhanced sampling in order to fully characterize the soil in the park; and III) further consultation to determine an appropriate plan for remediation.  Although there remains no expected adverse health effects from exposure to the soil from normal use of the park, remediation is required to eliminate any potential long term concerns. The information posted at the park will remain until all remediation is complete.

In consultation with the toxicology experts at Public Health Ontario, the Porcupine Health Unit has supported the recommendations for remediation put forth by the consultant for the City of Timmins which includes a geotextile separation followed by a 0.5 metre cap of clean, pre-sampled fill over the park area

If you have any questions about the potential risks to your health, please contact the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818.