Canadian Consulting Engineer

Incineration opposed at Sydney Tar Ponds

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has voted in favour of the basic plans to clean up the Sydney Tar Ponds and C...

February 7, 2006   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has voted in favour of the basic plans to clean up the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens site, but it is objecting to one part of the proposals — on-site incineration.
In late January the municipal council passed a motion 14 to 1 agreeing to write to the independent review panel and express opposition to the incineration of materials containing PCBs on the site. They also don’t want the material to be carted off elsewhere creating a headache for any other jurisdiction.
Instead, the council wants all the contaminated sediments in arguably Canada’s worst industrial wasteland to be treated on the site by means such as solidification and encapsulation, as well as bioremediation.
The original plans called for most of the contaminated material – over 1 million tonnes – to be treated on site by the solidification, containment and bioremediation methods. However, the plans call for about 125,000 tonnes of sediment that contains PCBs to be incinerated locally at Victoria Junction.
The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency is vowing to defend the incineration option before the review panel. Spokesperson Parker Donham says “all the experts agree that incineration can be carried out safely.”
AMEC Earth and Environmental headed the team that wrote a mammoth seven-volume environmental impact statement about the latest proposals to deal with the site, the legacy of 80 years of steel and coke production. The clean-up is predicted to cost $400-million over 10 years. ADI Ltd. and Jacques Whitford were the other two consulting engineers who contributed to the report.
The public has until February 16 to comment on the AMEC study.


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