Thursday, September 04, 2008

I stated this week to Blondel that my life has many contrasts to it. The example I used was the following:
"I'm hopped up on Caffeine, listening to Dragon Force, writing a boring report for the MOE."
Speed arcade metal and caffeine. The Ministry of the Environment. These should not be mixed. Although, they do balance each other out well.
Another example is happening presently. I'm about to write about the environmental practice of a corporation, resulting in dead vegetation, while listening to the new Metallica album "Death Magnetic", which I have obtained through less than proper means a solid 9 days before it's official release. I think that goes further than contrast. It is hypocritical. I justify it by saying I'm previewing it. If I like it, I'll buy it when it's released. If not, I'll delete it and get on with my life.

Anyway, I just took these two pictures behind my office building:Not too long ago, as in a few days ago, the grass next to the tracks was a luscious green, like the stuff 3 feet from the tracks. Now it's brown and dead. There is no photoshopping going on here. It's real. Same goes for the weeds and grown across the road. It wasn't cut down. I looks like it was chemically burned down. Does CP do this everywhere? If so, what do they spray? Just curious.
Cuz, I'd like to get some of it, and write some messages in a field somewhere, which will be visible from space...

Update - I emailed CP, and asked them about it. This was their quick and thorough response:

Mr. [Fungineer]:

By way of this e-mail I am going to ask my colleague out of Montreal to respond to some of the specifics in your inquiry. She is more familiar with the treatment that was carried out in the Peterborough area and the herbicide(s) that were used.

To quickly answer some of your general questions / comments:

Yes, appropriate environmental precautions are taken during the herbicide application process. All of our weed spray trucks are equipped with shrouded booms to minimize the potential for drift and spraying in windy conditions is not permitted (see attached photos). As is clearly evident in your photos the weed treatment has been confined to a narrow band on and immediately adjacent to our tracks. Our contract applicators are all provincially certified and must adhere to provincial regulations governing industrial herbicide applications. All herbicides that we use are extensively tested before being federally approved for use by the PMRA division of Health Canada and have a low acute toxicity to mammals and aquatic organisms.

At CP we control vegetation / weeds growing in the track ballast (rock section underlying the track) for a variety of safety reasons. Most notably, excessive weed growth in the ballast section can impeded drainage which can lead to track instability issues such as mud pumping. We also have a variety of hi-tech instrumentation to inspect track geometry and other conditions that rely on a clear line of sight. Visual track inspections, by trained inspectors, are also required by Transport Canada at least once per week. Excessive weed growth can obscure track defects creating challenging conditions for the aforementioned automated and visual safety inspections. In areas where railcar inspection or switching is required, areas immediately adjacent to tracks also need to be kept weed free in order to reduce the potential for slipping and tripping hazards, particularly for nighttime operations.

D... S....
Manager, Vegetation Program
Safety & Environmental Services
Canadian Pacific
Office: (250) 612-0324


Blogger Ian said...

if you don't buy the new Metallica album i'll have to slap's pretty much all i've listened to for the week since i also illegally obtained it from an anonymous tree hugging blogger ;) can't wait to get the CD quality version...

9:44 a.m.  

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