Saturday, June 25, 2005 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Disposal of debris at coke ovens site delayed

By DAVID JACKSON / Provincial Reporter

The demolition of a huge tank that once held thickened coal tar and tarry debris on Sydney's coke ovens property is behind schedule.

The $3.7-million project should have been finished in May, said Richard Morykot, and engineer with the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency.

He said the agency is working with contractor Clean Harbours Canada Inc. on a new schedule.

The tank, measuring about 20 metres in diameter and 10 metres high, is empty of its 1,500 tonnes of material.

Mr. Morykot said one reason for the delay has been several shutdowns to deal with air quality problems.

"Sometimes some equipment had to be changed or modified, sometimes we modified the way we were doing something or Clean Harbours was doing something," he said.

He said the agency constantly monitors air quality at the work site, and would stop work if the air approached quality limits. He said shutdowns would last a couple of days to a week.

Clean Harbours has also run into trouble trying to dispose of the material.

In the fall of 2003, a plan to send coal-tar oil to steelmaker Stelco's Nanticoke, Ont., refinery fell apart because Environment Canada labelled the material hazardous waste.

The material got that label even though tests on the material found it was no worse than the coal-tar oil Stelco was already using.

Some material ended up being incinerated in Mercier, Que. Some is now in containers sitting on rail cars at the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia rail yard.

A Clean Harbours spokesman could not be reached Friday afternoon for details on its disposal plan.

Mr. Morykot said the delay isn't slowing down other work on the property.