Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), at this time, there are no indications that there are any adverse effects on human health. However, as a further precaution, Transport Canada initiated a screening level human health risk assessment in 2010 that identified potential risks from contact with the marine sediments or fish. In the absence of shoreline specific data, these risk rankings were developed based on marine sediment data. To further refine the analysis and to provide greater certainty, a site-specific fish-sampling program and near-shoreline sediment sampling are under way in Botwood. Should any adverse impacts be identified, Transport Canada will ensure that action is taken to mitigate the risk.
In response to (b), since 1996, several environmental studies have been conducted to assess the sediments in Botwood harbour and elevated metal concentrations were found in the samples. The most recent sampling event in 2010 also indicated that elevated metals were present in the sediments. Recommendations from environmental reports state that the sediments should remain and allow natural sedimentation to bury the sediments containing metals. Monitoring of the natural burial process is being conducted biannually.