November 24, 2016 by John Nicholson
As reported in the Stoney Creek News, significant progress is being made on the clean-up of Hamilton Harbour at the far west end of Lake Ontario. As part of the $140 million clean-up of Randle Reef in the Harbour, an engineered containment facility (ECF) that will house the final resting place of 695,000 cubic metres of sediment contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
The contaminants in the sediment are the result of over 100 years of industrial dumping and burning of coal in the along the shores of the harbour.
“It’s big, it’s really big,” said Jon Gee, manager of the Great Lakes’ Area of Concern section for the federal Environment and Climate Change. The federal government allowed a group of reporters to view the construction so far from Pier 15 recently.
Gee said if the 3,000 steel pilings that form the inner and outer walls of the ECF range in size from 20 to 30 meters (60-10 feet). The steel used for the containment facility was produced by Nanticoke’s U.S. Steel Canada facility.
The ECF is a double-walled structure, with a 15-metre outer wall and inner wall, which is an environmental barrier.
Randle Reef, considered the largest toxic coal-tar deposit in Canada, is about 60 hectares in size (120 football fields). The ECF, which will be six hectares or 5.7 hectares (14 acres) in size, will be located on top of the most contaminated site. The ECF is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2017.
Starting 2018 the area will be dredged of contaminated sediments and dumped into the ECF. Capping the ECF will take three year starting in 2020, with an expected end date of 2022.
“We are on time and on budget,” said Gee.
Once the facility is completed, the Hamilton Port Authority will take it over, operating it as a marine terminal, generating revenues in order to maintain it, said Gee.
Gee said the surrounding area where the toxic sediments were dredged will be capped allowing the marine life to migrate back into the area. The contaminated soil will be sucked up using hydraulic dredging.