South Island Aggregates Ltd. has received provincial approval to construct a soil remediation and management facility on a five-kilometre stretch of land by South Shawinigan Lake, the British Columbia (B.C.) Ministry of the Environment has announced.
With more than 4,000 contaminated sites on B.C. federal land alone — the most in Canada — costs can skyrocket when it comes to trucking or barging remediated soil from the South Island Region to the mainland.
South Island Aggregates Ltd. is considering the addition of a soil treatment centre at the new facility so that on-site contaminated soil can be sold and reused.
In other parts of the B.C., including the Lower Mainland, Interior and Okanagan, several options exist for soil treatment and management.
South Island Aggregates Ltd. estimates B.C. has thousands more contaminated sites on private land.
Since 2008, the B.C.’s brownfield renewal program has provided close to $6 million for 101 projects in over 50 communities. The government also released $1.5 million in July 2013 to aid the clean-up.
The B.C. Ministry of the Environment received approximately 300 submissions in response to the draft permit issued in March 2013. Water contamination was the issue that drew the most public concern.
In response to surface and groundwater concerns, among others, South Island Aggregates Ltd. held public meetings in spring and summer 2013. The company says it will only be accepting non-leachable soils, and those soils must meet provincial soil quality guidelines.
Furthermore, any water leaving the site will be processed through a treatment system.
Here are some contaminated site statistics presented at public meetings hosted by South Island Aggregates Ltd.:
- approximately 15,000 sites registered in the B.C. Sites Registry
- estimated 4,000-6,000 Brownfields in B.C.
- B.C. has over 4,000 contaminated sites on federal land (the most in Canada)
- federal government has allocated $15 billion to clean up federal contaminated sites
- province estimates 2,000-3,000 contaminated sites on provincial Crown land
- B.C. has spent several hundred million – has not fully accounted for all liabilities
- estimated that thousands more contaminated sites on private land are unregistered
- estimated 1,000-2,000 contaminated sites within the South Island Region
- twenty registered sites within five kilometres of Shawnigan Lake Village centre.