04/15/2013 09:47 EDT | Updated 06/15/2013 05:12 EDT

High levels of nickel traced to company in Port of Quebec

High levels of nickel in the air of a Quebec City neighbourhood have been traced back to a cargo-handling company by the provincial government.

After extensive air quality tests in the Limoilou district, the ministry of the environment says Arrimage du St-Laurent, located in the Port of Quebec, is responsible for the high amount of the nickel-iron sulfide — known as pentlandite — in the air.

Tests revealed between two and eight times more nickel in the air than the normal amount.

Limoilou resident, Veronique Lalande, said she is relieved the source of the pollution has been discovered.

In connection with the incident, Lalande launched a class-action lawsuit last October against Quebec City's Port Authority and Arrimage du Québec.

“It's a big victory today because we've been saying that for five months now,” she said.

“Today it's the truth. There's an impact from the activities at the Port de Quebec and now everybody knows that.”

Lalande is calling for air quality testing across Quebec City. She said she believes Limoilou isn't the only neighbourhood affected.

The province has given the cargo holding company until May 3 to come up with a plan to stop the spread of the nickel dust.