Wally Davis wanted to build a room in the attic of his house. Since he lives in Port Hope, he couldn’t just go ahead and do it. He went to the Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office, a federal agency, requested the file on his property and asked them to test for remnants of historic radioactive waste.
“There was contamination in the roof, on the floors, in the walls . . . everywhere in the house,” said Davis, 75, a retired Ontario Hydro employee.
They did indeed. The waste management office spent $464,615 to clean up the house Davis bought a decade ago for $125,000 — or $130,000, he can’t remember.
“We didn’t have a clue how much they spent,” said Davis when the Star told him that almost a half-million dollars had been used to remediate his home.
Port Hope, the picture-pretty lakeside town about 110 kilometres east of Toronto, will soon see the biggest cleanup of historic radioactive waste in Canadian history. Fifty years of radium and uranium refining at the Cameco refinery, formerly Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear Ltd., has left contamination spread around the town.
According to Judy Herod of the Port Hope Area Initiative, the agency in charge of the overall cleanup, the Davis house was “basically gutted” with work done on every part. Workers also removed asbestos found in the floor coverings, she added.
But the Davis house — built in the 1940s with tainted lumber — is an anomaly in terms of contamination, Herod said.
The Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office has never done a remediation on this scale since it was formed in 1982, said Herod.
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