The human and environmental disaster at Lac Mégantic: the event, the impacts and the lessons to be learned
Presenta: Rosa Galvez-Cloutier
Department of Civil and Water Engineering, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
On the night of July 5, 2013, a freight train carrying light crude oil from North Dakota derailed in the town of Lac-Mégantic (Quebec, Canada), causing explosions, fires and the spill of 7000m3 of oil. This catastrophe resulted in 47 human deaths, the destruction of the city's downtown and significant environmental pollution. Indeed, oil infiltrated soils and contaminated Lac-Mégantic (lake) and the Chaudière River. Floating oil was observed up to 186 km from Lac-Mégantic in the direction of the St. Lawrence River. This emergency is considered the worst case of an inland oil spill in North America. Remediation actions included excavation and biotreatment of contaminated urban soils and monitoring of contaminated water and sediments along the Chaudiere River.
A multidisciplinary group of researchers initiated a vast research program in order to use this case as a learning instrument for various environmental studies that included emergency actions and environmental impact evaluation. This presentation aims to present the emergency and some of the environmental quality monitoring results and research works to come.
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