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January 13, 2023

Chemetron – Painting a Lagoon

It’s been decades since the Chemetron Corporation of Canada closed its factory in Port Hope in 1977. It left behind a namesake lagoon, currently filled with contaminants from its past industrial practices, which is now being cleaned up as part of Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) activities.

During its operation on Lake Street, the Chemetron Port Hope facility produced and sold pigment to be used for ink in the printing industry, primarily in the United States. The factory, the only one of its kind in Canada to produce the unique blue and red pigments, opened its doors in 1970 with 20 employees. The waste from processing pigments was disposed nearby in underground storage tanks and the resulting Chemetron Lagoon.

The company, a subsidiary of the larger Chemetron Corporation Inc. based in Chicago, Illinois soon fell into disrepair. It seemed as if the Chemetron Corporation lacked commitment to the organic pigment industry and failed to provide the necessary capital to adequately maintain the factories, which allowed the production facilities to deteriorate.

Increased costs of production and downtime on production lines negatively affected the company’s profitability and the Chemetron location in Port Hope soon closed. Shortly afterward the assets were purchased by Allegheny Ludlum Industries Ltd.

The Chemetron Lagoon is one of five industrial sites being cleaned up as part of the PHAI. Cleanup includes the removal of the water from the lagoon and the remediation of the soils underneath. This work begun in 2022 and is expected to continue through 2024. Work on the lagoon and surrounding site will result in the temporary closure of the Sculthorpe Marsh parking lot, so as to safely facilitate these activities.

The waste will be transported from the lagoon to the Port Hope Long-Term Waste Management Facility (LTWMF) as well as third party waste facilities for storage. Water will also be transported to the Port Hope LTWMF for treatment.

If you have questions or would like additional information about the Chemetron Lagoon cleanup or the other industrial sites in Port Hope please contact the PHAI office at 905-885-0291 or visit phai.ca



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