N.S. has tar pond final say
Remove and incinerate 120,000 tonnes of sediment containing PCBs, 1,300 tonnes
of PAH-contaminated sediment and 25,000 tonnes of PAH-contaminated material.
Redirect ground and surface water at both the tar ponds and coke ovens sites to
minimize water contact with contaminants.
Treat remaining contaminated soils at the coke ovens site using land farming, a
form of bioremediation.
Build a containment system and a cap on the tar ponds site and a soil cover at
the coke ovens site.
Restore and landscape both sites.
Monitor both sites for 25 years.
Province can overrule review panel; Ottawa controls money
By Our Staff
Nova Scotia and Ottawa have set the rules for a public review of the province's
plan to clean up a million tonnes of contaminated soil and sludge in Sydney.
But no matter what the panel says, the province will have the final say on how
the cleanup is done.
"The panel can make a recommendation and (the Nova Scotia environment minister)
can decide to go with it or not," provincial spokesman Chris Daly said
The province favours taking 120,000 tonnes of tar ponds sediment containing PCBs
and other cancer-causing chemicals and burning it. It would use clay, concrete
and soil to cap the rest. Soil on the adjacent coke ovens site would be
Ottawa retains some input on the plan since it will pay a substantial share of
the costs. It also issues the permits for the work to start. But it won't make
recommendations of its own.
"If the federal government doesn't agree to the project going ahead, then the
project won't go ahead," said Mr. Daly, the Environment Department's manager of
The panel rules were released Thursday after an agreement was reached between
provincial Environment Minister Kerry Morash and federal minister Stephane
NDP environment critic Michele Raymond said she was glad that a full panel will
review the project. The province had favoured a shorter review process.
The ministers will jointly select the three panel members.
The panel will hold public hearings in Cape Breton Regional Municipality to
examine the cleanup project proposed by the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency,
alternatives to the project and the way it will be carried out.
The panel will also look at environmental and socio-economic effects "including
the environmental effects of malfunctions or accidents" and future monitoring
The members will hear from the public and will have the power to summon
witnesses to testify or produce documents as one would in court.
Environmentalists don't like the plan as proposed. The Sierra Club of Canada and
environmentalists such as David Suzuki prefer other methods, such as cleaning
the soil on-site.
The Sierra Clubs of Canada and the U.S. were meeting at White Point Beach Lodge
on Thursday. Elizabeth May, the national executive director, could not be
Parker Donham, spokesman for the tar ponds agency, said: "We welcome the
opportunity to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the proposed cleanup
based on scientific evidence."
The panel is expected to come up with an environmental impact statement by Dec.
30. It will be made public for 48 days.
If the panel notes any deficiencies with the statement, it has two weeks to ask
for further information.
"Once it is satisfied that the necessary information has been provided," the
panel will give 21 days' notice before the start of the hearings, which will
last up to 21 days. The hearings can be extended only with the approval of both
The panel will deliver its recommendations to the ministers within 55 days after
the close of the hearings.
Once the report is translated into French, and before a decision is made, it
will be released to the public, Mr. Daly said.
The federal government has agreed to pay for 70 per cent of the review, while
the province will foot the remaining 30 per cent. It's not known how much the
review will cost, but the provincial Environment Department and the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency will prepare a budget before the review panel