One would think that a facility that it will cost $30 million to build would warrant detailed architectural drawings of the measures HAZCO is willing to apply to alleviate the visual and environmental impact its proposed site would have. Not a peep from HAZCO in that respect.
As of now there has been no environmental impact assessment of HAZCO's proposal for the County of Lamont. However, as it appears, the current proposal differs little from that for Gibbons, and there was an assessment of that. Have a look at it and get a taste. Don't forget that HAZCO's proposal for Gibbons was turned down, although HAZCO states that it stopped pursuing its intentions there and pulled away from them on account of lack of customers. HAZCO says the same about its failed attempt prior to that to locate its sulphur-storage and -handling site just north of Thorhild.
It makes one wonder why the lack of customers suddenly evaporates on account of HAZCO wishing to set up its sulphur storage operation in Lamont County. Alternatively, if HAZCO sulphur sites were so readily available in two other counties, why would HAZCO not simply continue with implementing its plans there. It seems a terrible waste of everyone's time and money to start the long process of convincing local residents that to have sulphur storage and processing in their neighbourhood all over again in a new county is a good thing and will improve the quality of their lives. The display of faulty logic in HAZCO's explanation why that needs to be done leaves much to be desired.
Verbally, HAZCO tells visitors to its information office that some features (e. g.: sub-surface sulphur storage, berms, above-ground storage of
sulphur blocks) depicted in the graphical displays in the information office in one form or variety or another (there are quite a few different forms), are not part of the design covered by its current application. However, the assurance is given that the current application covers only the first step for the site development. For instance, in Section 2 "Facility Overview", subsection 2.1, second paragraph, p. 5, HAZCO states:
The proposed project includes facilities for sulphur forming, sulphur pastille storage and shipping. At this time, HAZCO has no plans to provide for emergency inventory storage (i.e.
sulphur block) at this location. Therefore, molten sulphur and dry formed product will be the only sulphur storage methods employed at this site.
That is the only instance of HAZCO mentioning the expression
sulphur block in its 18-page application. Pay close attention to the code phrase "at this time". What about another time? The storage of
sulphur in blocks will become the prime necessity for HAZCO's operation in the County of Lamont. Read the report that contains the graph shown in the comments to FAQ #4. With the escalating sulphur glut in the world market, intervals of high sulphur prices will be fleeting moments, as they have been ever since 1980.
It stands to reason that, contrary to what the HAZCO information office incongruously asserts, and contrary to the main body of HAZCO's application to Alberta Environment, all of the storage methods covered in the various displays at various public ventures and in the attachments to HAZCO's application will eventually be used, quite likely sooner than later. Logistically, HAZCO will not be able to operate without having to store large amounts of sulphur by pouring it into
large blocks. (See information on problems with sulphur storage). If HAZCO has no intention of storing
sulphur in blocks, why does HAZCO mention
sulphur blocks so very frequently? The conclusion one is left with is that HAZCO application to Alberta Energy is a sham.
According to the HAZCO information office, about 6,000 tons of sulphur would arrive at the HAZCO site each week (far more than that in the years to come). It is very highly improbable that 6,000 tons of sulphur prills can be shipped out each and every week of the year. To succeed in that objective the vagaries of the sulphur market would have to vanish (which won't and can't happen), and the likelihood of equipment failures and of sulphur fires would have to be zero. Furthermore, HAZCO would have to be successful in shipping back sulphur that exceeds its stated top-limit for H2S content of 10 parts per million in the liquid sulphur received at the HAZCO site. It appears unbelievable that HAZCO will be successful in meeting that objective. The sulphur producers will not stop degassing their products just because the sulphur received by HAZCO doesn't meet HAZCO's stated limit on H2S. Once the sulphur arrives via the announced pipeline, the pipeline will not stop delivering sulphur because HAZCO calls the sulphur producers and tells them that the quality of the sulphur is below HAZCO's standard pertaining to H2S content. HAZCO will not be permitted to become a bottleneck when sulphur producers want to dispose of their waste-sulphur. Once it begins arriving in the County of Lamont, waste-sulphur will keep on arriving, ever more of it, whether HAZCO can sell it on the world market or not.
When the HAZCO information office was visited on November 4, 2005, the spokesperson there said that she was opposed to the HAZCO proposal when she first heard about it, but that then she needed a job, got her job as a spokesperson in HAZCO's information office in Lamont, and learned quite a bit about HAZCO's intentions that she did not know beforehand, and that then she changed her mind.
She said that she thought at first, too, that $100,000 in tax revenue per year was a pittance for the amount of land to be used by HAZCO (it would actually be no more than about two-thirds or less of that for the County of Lamont, as for instance the Industrial Heartland Association receives its cut), but that one must consider that the current proposal by HAZCO is only the first step in what HAZCO intends to do with the proposed site.
There was a map on the counter top. The map included a drawing of a
sulphur-block storage area that, the spokesperson explained, would be provided with an asphalt pad to bear the
sulphur blocks, as sub-surface storage had been ruled out due to the circumstance that the level of the ground water at the site is only three feet below the surface. She further explained that that had been decided upon contemplating the concerns of the Friends of the County of Lamont about the problems that would arise out of having
sulphur blocks immersed in groundwater. (See information on bacterial production of sulphuric acid)
However, following her remark about what she had learned about HAZCO and stressing that the current application by HAZCO involves only the very first step in the development of the site, she pointed at various locations in the map of the proposed sulphur-plant site and said that, as time goes by there will be other such facilities, "here, here, ...and here," and that "before you know it there will be ten such facilities on that section of land, employing 300 people and providing a million dollars a year in tax revenue to the County."
There is the rub. Ten such facilities will cause ten times the problems, ten times the amount of sulphur-truck traffic, ten times the amount of pollution and ten times the risk of danger in the area to health, lives and properties. Furthermore, HAZCO's site would only be the first such sulphur site in the County. Others would inevitably follow. According to an estimate by Dr. Clark from the University of Calgary, within a few years 150km2 will be required for sulphur storage in Alberta. (See article.) The HAZCO site would satisfy a little more than one percent of that space requirement.
The HAZCO spokesperson then said also that HAZCO is no longer the only organization that wishes to process sulphur in our area and asked, "Did you read the recent article in the newspaper about the proposal to build a sulphur processing facility near Riley?"
The residents of the County of Lamont are not as concerned about the little details and variations of the very first step of the design for the HAZCO sulphur-storage and -handling site as they are about its ultimate state, about its ultimate impact on the environment and their health, and about what else the presence of such a site will attract.
The major concern of the residents of our County is that by having one such sulphur facility in our area, others will be constructed here. It follows that other wastes will be stored here and that Lamont would become the dumping ground for Alberta's industry. Why did Alberta's taxpayers spend hundreds of millions of dollars of their hard-earned money to pay for the Swan Hills hazardous waste management facility? Would it not be ultimately far better to ship Alberta's sulphur to Swan Hills? That's what the Swan Hills site is for!
Don't forget that just a few years ago it was touch-and-go to prevent the landfill for Edmonton from being located here. The Enoch Nation eventually volunteered to provide the land for the Edmonton landfill, but then, just a short time ago, there was a massive fire in that landfill site that made the news big-time. It is surely a good thing that we didn't have that fire here. Nevertheless, massive sulphur fires are much worse than massive landfill fires.
Why does HAZCO not once ever offer any information on what the fully completed site will look like and what it would do to us? The answer to that seems to be a given: it would not be in HAZCO's interest to tell, or, in HAZCO's standard wording, "It’s not appropriate for us to comment on what others are saying or doing. Everyone is entitled to their opinions." HAZCO could just as well say, "Go to Hell," but it is far better for HAZCO to cut back on the size and capacity of the design for the first step of HAZCO's intentions here until that first step to place HAZCO's foot in the door to our County is so small that no one will any longer worry about that first step. That is exactly what they do. To convince yourself of that, visit the HAZCO information office in Lamont.
Rest assured, once HAZCO is in, it will be impossible to get rid off, and more and bigger problems will follow. Problems need to be nipped in the bud, not eradicated when we must cure ourselves of the ill effects of their fruits.
Permitting HAZCO or anyone else with similar intentions to take their first small step here would be like asking for just a tiny, wee bit of skin cancer. An ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure.