Moving items needed for tar ponds cleanup will be big job, says agency official

By Wes Stewart
Cape Breton Post
Mon., Feb. 20, 2007

Sydney - How to move hundreds of trucks in and out of a heavily populated bustling city daily takes a lot of planning.

Thousands of tons of clay, topsoil, material and equipment will be needed for the cleanup, identified to be a monumental task for those responsible for the $400 million cleanup, said Frank Potter.

The acting CEO of the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency said about $55 million will be tendered this year including the construction of a new sheet piling-lined channel for the brooks flowing into the ponds.

"There is a huge amount of steel sheet piling to be purchased and a contractor hired to install it."

Sheet piling will be hammered into the bottom of the tar ponds to create the channel, a job that will take 18 months. "We are looking at ways to minimize the noise on the construction end, again it's going to be an issue."

A special landfill will be built on the coke ovens sites for debris - miscellaneous shopping carts and railway ties and stuff from the tar ponds that can't be solidified will go there.

"We will have a decontamination pad where we can rinse off and clean this material and take it to the landfill site."

A tender for a plant to treat contaminated groundwater on the coke ovens site is also in the plans this year.

Potter said the Sydney Port Access Road was built with this future transportation demand to supply material for the cleanup in mind.

"When we closed out the old municipal landfill (dump) under an earlier cost-shared agreement, transportation was the biggest, most complex part of that project," he said. It was a capping project and not all that complicated, although "the trucking was a horrendous problem. "We had 18-wheel tractor-trailers coming in every two minutes on that site, a massive amount of material being moved constantly."

Potter said that will be an issue for the much larger tar ponds cleanup and will necessitate the construction of a road alongside Dodd and Intercolonial streets to Battery Point. "We don't want the trucks on the city streets, we will keep (most of) them on the constructed road along the shoreline."

Potter said they are going to minimize as much as possible the inconvenience whether it is traffic, noise or dust on the project. "Partly it is based on how we design the tenders and working with the contractors to make sure they recognize trucking safety is important and to try to limit the noise as much as possible."

Time of day work restrictions, ways to limit dust will be designed into the tenders to minimize the impacts on the public, Potter said.