The Ontario City of Brantford says it has extracted about 1,000 litres of contamination from the soil where it's testing out a steam remediation technique through a partnership with a Dutch technology company.
The Brantford Expositor reports that Groundwater Technology has injected steam as deep as four metres into a small section of the brownfield. The company then vacuumed and treated the extracted liquid.
Full results of the remediation project will not be available until early 2014.
The soil remediation technology is being applied to a portion of the longstanding 21-hectare Greenwich Mohawk brownfield site in Brantford, a city that has lost a number of its industrial footholds since the 1980s.
The Greenwich Mohawk brownfield site consists of three adjacent properties used for decades by two large farm equipment manufacturers. The property’s approximately 700,000-cubic metres of soil are contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and other pollutants.
The test project will use steam to remove the petroleum hydrocarbons from a 300-square-metre area within the source area for the contaminants. The steam will mobilize the petroleum hydrocarbon contaminants so they can be extracted with a vacuum system, then separated through condensation and actual physical separation.
The petroleum hydrocarbons will be recovered and disposed of as a chemical waste or refined or recycled, the City said.
In 2012, a fire damaged some of the Greenwich Mohawk brownfield area, which houses at least two historic buildings. The prospect of demolition faced public criticism and anger over the potential loss of the most valuable heritage assets at 66 Mohawk Street.
In September 2013, the City of Brantford received a grant of $130,845 from the Green Municipal Fund, endowed from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to move the test project forward with Dutch company Groundwater Technology.
“This leading-edge technology is another prime example of the groundbreaking innovation this city is quickly becoming known for,” said Brantford Mayor Chris Friel in a September 27, 2013 statement to media. “This initiative will create a cleaner, greener Brantford for future generations,” Friel added.
The City’s hope is that the technology may eventually be used in the Canadian context to remediate brownfield sites to a residential and parkland standard, all without demolishing a site’s designated heritage buildings with more invasive techniques.
The initiative is a key component of Brantford’s Brownfield Sites Community Improvement Plan.