– A Montreal steel mill that employs nearly 1,500 people will be shuttered by the end of the year after more of the company’s operations were found to have contaminated groundwater, authorities announced Wednesday.
The Montreal-based Steel Group said it had found traces of a toxin in the company water supply at its plant in a suburb of the city.
A decision to close the plant would affect about 700 employees and could lead to job losses and financial losses.
The plant was opened in 2011 by the Steel Group, a company that operates some of the world’s largest steel mills, and was intended to serve as a training facility for local manufacturing and export.
It was originally built to produce steel for ships and military vessels.
A spokesman for the company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the plant was still in a “pre-inspection” phase.
He said the company has hired a third-party testing lab to test for contaminants in the groundwater.
He also said it has identified a leak in the plant’s supply line.
A report in The Globe and Mail said the contamination could have been caused by a leaky pipe, which could have caused the steel in the pipes to corrode.
The Globe reported on Wednesday that the water supply was found to be contaminated with a toxin that is commonly used in the manufacturing of flame retardants.
A sample taken from the water tested positive for the toxin, a study by the Quebec government said.
The company has been fined for failing to report a leak at the plant and for failing the inspection of its facilities.
It is not clear if any of the workers who work at the facility have been affected.
In May, a Quebec Superior Court judge ordered Steel Group to pay $12 million in damages to more than 1,000 workers and the province for environmental damage.
A court also ordered Steel to compensate about 700 other workers who were hurt by the contamination, which has been blamed on corrosion.