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Kings North News: Lohr concerned over recycled engine oil use in Nova Scotia roads

<p>Kings North MLA John Lohr.</p>
<p>Kings North MLA John Lohr.</p>

KINGS COUNTY, NS - R.E.O.B. – also known as recycled engine oil bottoms - matter much more to us all than you may think.  

When you get your engine oil changed, the waste oil goes somewhere. That somewhere ends up being big refineries in Quebec, which recycle the engine oil and put it to use again as new products. That's a good thing. However, they also end up with some unusable products. These are known as R.E.O.Bs and where they end up should matter to all of us.

One place they end up is in the asphalt mixture being put on our roads. Ever wonder why new paving is breaking up after only a couple years? The answer is likely R.E.O.Bs.

The motive for the recycling companies is simply profit. Why pay someone to have a waste end product dealt with when you can put it into a very similar-looking product and sell it for a tidy profit?

The province of Ontario is dealing with the issue. They have had their auditor general look at this and are formulating an action plan. Some of the New England states are also addressing the issue. (Read more at

The fact is that we are in a regional market and an active sampling plan is the only way to address the issue, the profit motive being pretty compelling for the companies involved. Has our own Nova Scotia Department of Transportation looked into early asphalt failure and the role of R.E.O.B.s in this? The simple answer is no.

After two years of trying to generate interest in the issue, all I have received is very non-committal interest. Recently, I suggested that our province meet with Ontario's leading authority on the causes of early asphalt failure, Dr Hesp. Not much interest in that either. 

What is at stake is the quality of millions of dollars of paving in our province. In a world of buyer beware, it is being very naive to think we are not a risk to the issue. Likely even our paving companies many not be aware of the presence or absence of the contaminants in the asphalt.

But ask yourself this question: does new paving last like it should?


John Lohr is the MLA for Kings North.

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