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Darlington leak prompts water monitoring;

ENVIRONMENT: Port Hope taking samples every hour;

Northumberland Today.Com: JOYCE CASSIN - December 23, 2009

- Hourly water samples are being taken in Port Hope after water containing tritium and hydrazine was released from the Darlington Nuclear station Monday night.

Should analysis indicate the water sampling parameters in question impact Port Hope's water supply, the municipality will shutdown the water intake from Lake Ontario if required and will access water from potable water storage reservoirs.

"All testing still remains in place and there is no issue," Port Hope Mayor Linda Thompson said Tuesday afternoon.

She said the municipal emergency systems kicked in as required.

"No concerns were identified and at no time was there any risk to the water supply," Thompson said.

Late Monday night, Port Hope was notified by the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) Spills Action Centre that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Darlington Nuclear released demineralized, regular water, containing some tritium and hydrazine, into the environment.

Emergency measure procedures were initiated where the water treatment plant was placed on standby until all the pertinent information was obtained. As there was no indication of a risk to Port Hope's water supply based on modelling conducted by MOE, water production was not halted, read a statement from Port Hope issued Tuesday.

Following the municipal emergency procedure until otherwise directed by MOE, hourly raw water sampling parameters for ammonia, hydrazine and tritium were being conducted.

OPG informed the municipality that samples taken at regional water treatment plants late Monday evening indicated normal background levels of the substances. Further samples are being taken to continue to monitor for any change in results at regular intervals.

OPG has also informed that the collection effort underway, to recover as much of the water as possible, continues.

Following OPG nuclear procedures, the MOE, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Region of Durham water treatment plants, as well as other agencies, were notified.

OPG said it is working with the appropriate agencies as per their procedures to ensure all precautions required are undertaken.

jcassin@northumberlandtoday.com