Work at cooling pond winding down; dealing with dust
By Our Staff
Sydney - As work on the project is nearing an end, construction
work resumed at the cooling pond Friday, after it
was shut down Thursday evening when dust limits outlined
in the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency’s environmental
management plan were approached.
Work was also halted last Friday, when dust levels were
exceeded for the first time on the project. It resumed the
The Sydney cooling pond is a manmade, circular body
of water and sludge, located on Inglis Street. The function
of the pond was to cool water once used by Sysco’s rolling
The agency’s real-time air monitoring program is
intended to protect the health of the general public and onsite
workers from being affected by cleanup activities.
Real-time data monitored continuously
"Each day they have almost like a
dust budget," agency spokesperson
Tanya Collier MacDonald noted.
"Last Friday there was an
exceedance of that budget and
(Thursday) night they came close,
but they didn’t actually exceed, they
were shut down as a precautionary
measure until the air monitoring
people had time to crunch the numbers."
The real-time data, collected as
15-minute averages, are monitored
continuously during construction
activity to identify sources of
volatile organic compounds and
dust. This approach allows site
managers to modify activities
immediately and to implement controls
that lower dust levels before
they become a hazard.
Work on the cooling pond project
is expected to be completed
within the next two weeks.
"They’re almost at the very end
of the solidification and stabilization
part of the project, so all the
sediment that was in there is almost
completely solidified and stabilized
and they’re almost finished capping
as well," Collier MacDonald said.
"To look at it, pretty well most of the
cooling pond just disappeared."
The cooling pond project was the
first aboriginal set-aside component
of the cleanup of the tar ponds
and coke ovens sites, with three
local aboriginal construction companies
working on the project. They
are currently working on the last
cell of the project.
Aboriginal construction companies
are already looking toward
future contracts as part of the
"This experience has also
allowed these Cape Breton aboriginal
construction companies to
build capacity and expertise and
has positioned them to play a significant
role in future contracts and
other major construction projects
in Nova Scotia", said Dan Christmas,
chair of the Unama’ki economic
benefits steering committee and
senior adviser to Membertou First
Frank Potter, president of the
Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, called the
cooling pond project a success,
largely due to the aboriginal contractors
working on the project.
"They have responded to the
challenge of a demanding environmental
project and in the process
have acquired valuable skills and
training from some of the top
experts in the field of solidification
and stabilization," he said.