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Fire crews continue to battle a blaze at American Iron and Metal in Saint John on the afternoon of Sept. 14, 2023. Image: Submitted

Garden soil testing planned after AIM Recycling fire

By Tara Clow Oct 13, 2023 | 5:31 PM

Gardeners in the Saint John area are being offered advice following last month’s fire at American Iron and Metal.

The Department of Health has retained a consultant to do soil sampling from several community gardens.

Work will be overseen by the Department of Environment and the Department of Health.

This is being done as part of the response to the fire and as part of the task force investigation.

Sampling will be done in the plume area, which are the parts of the city that were most affected by smoke as the fire progressed and due to changes in wind and atmospheric conditions.

Until samples can be obtained and sent for testing, and results are received, the departments offer the following suggestions:

  • Anyone choosing to harvest garden crops should wash them well and keep them frozen until test results are available. Alternatively, these crops could be discarded into regular garbage.
  • People choosing to compost garden crops or soil should consider keeping them separate from existing compost until test results are available.
  • People should wash their hands thoroughly after handling crops or soil.

There’s no word when results of the testing will be available.