Canadian Consulting Engineer

Coal tar to be contained in Hamilton Harbour

November 16, 2007
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The federal government has announced it will invest $30 million towards the clean-up of contaminated sediment in Ha...

The federal government has announced it will invest $30 million towards the clean-up of contaminated sediment in Hamilton Harbour.
The money is for the remediation of contaminated sediment in Randle Reef, an underwater deposit in the harbour of 630,000 cubic metres of heavily contaminated coal tar containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The site is said to be second only to the Sydney Tar Ponds within Canada as a site contaminated by coal tar. The coal tar was deposited during industrial operations decades ago.
The remediation efforts are expected to take eight years, beginning in 2008. The province of Ontario, municipalities and local partners are expected to each contribute one third of the remaining costs.
The method chosen for the cleanup will involve the construction of a 9.5-hectare containment facility made of double-lined steel walls and with a clay bottom. The container will be built around the area with the heaviest contamination and will be used to store other sediment dredged from the surrounding area.
Once the dredging is complete the facility will be capped with clean fill. Most of the area will become a shipping pier, and the rest will be a naturalized shoreline.
According to a release from Environment Canada, “this approach of confined disposal and beneficial use is standard. It has been used in the Netherlands and is being proposed in many European cases on a much larger scale.” The containment facility is expected to have a 200-year lifespan.
The conceptual design study for the clean-up project was done by Acres Associated. Currently, Arcadis BBL, a U.S. engineering company based in Denver, is doing the engineering design.Hamilton Harbour is the largest and most severely contaminated Canadian site within the Great Lakes. It is one of 43 “Areas of Concern” identified in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States.
The investment is part of the Canadian government’s Action Plan for Clean Water.


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