Consultant needed to detail conditions at tar ponds

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency requires information

By Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2004

An engineering consultant is being sought by the provincial government to provide a detailed description of existing conditions at the tar ponds and coke ovens sites - information needed before the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency begins its work.

"It's the first of many stages that are involved in the CEAA environmental review of the project," said Parker Donham, spokesperson for the provincial Sydney Tar Ponds Agency. "It catalogues the baseline conditions as near as possible to the start of an actual project. Essentially, it's a snapshot of existing conditions at and around the site." Such descriptions requested include the physical geography, wildlife, air quality, climate, water currents, groundwater, surface water, fish habitat, heritage resources including possible First Nations' impacts, current conditions as well as trends. Community structures, as well as commercial and recreational facilities will be included as well.

"It's one of a series of projects that we're doing to get ready for the big cleanup," added Donham.

Other initiatives are the remediation of the cooling pond, ongoing surface and groundwater monitoring, completed engineering designs for the realignment of coke oven brook and the north pond cofferdam.

A Cape Breton Regional Municipality tender for the rerouting of Victoria Road water main is being readied and a tender for an engineering study for the remediation of the tar cell is also being drafted. As well, engineering designs for the sewage treatment plant is complete. "The existing environment study is just one of that litany of projects we've been busy with," said Don- ham.

Extensive environmental assessments completed in the past will be made available to the consultants to help them with the work expected to take up to three months, he said.

Also needed, before the environmental assessment agency can begin, is a definition of the project from both levels of government. Donham said that is expected "soon".

The request for proposals was advertised in Wednesday's edition of the Cape Breton Post. In the ad, it was noted that proposals should be submitted by Thursday Feb. 26.