Cleanup agency has responded to complaints

The Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens remediation project is in the midst of completing one of its busiest construction seasons since onsite work began.

Cape Breton Post
Letter by Kevin MacDonald
Fri., Aug. 6, 2010

Although this means our community has reached another significant milestone in the project, we understand that our recent activities have been bothersome to some of our closest neighbours.

We want to assure the public and our neighbours that we remain committed to protecting your health and safety throughout all our construction activities. We heard your concerns and they are being addressed.

Since May, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency and its contractors have worked together to better manage dust and odour emanating from the sites. We have implemented an aggressive foaming program in the south pond and coke ovens that suppresses odours up to six months. Some of you may have already noticed the use of our short-term foam, Rusmar, which looks like a shaving foam and comes in many colours, and the longer lasting foam, CONCover 180, which appears green and ultimately develops into a crust to seal odours. We have also changed our work practices by reducing the amount of exposed sediment on the site at one time. These odour-suppressing initiatives will continue until the project is complete.

We encourage residents with questions or concerns regarding odour or dust to contact the agency directly so that we can promptly respond.

To do this, we have implemented the following measures:

A 24-hour project hotline (902-567-1035) that provides the public with the ability to easily report odour or dust concerns; and

An online odour and dust concern form that can be submitted electronically to the agency. The public can access the online form at

In addition, any complaints received will be forwarded, with the permission of the persons involved, to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. We are nearly finished solidifying and stabilizing sediment in the south pond, the area between Prince Street and Ferry Street Bridge. Within weeks, the channel for both Wash Brook (which travels behind Sobeys), and Coke Ovens Brook (which travels from the top of the coke ovens site and drains into the South Pond) will begin, and a protective cap will be constructed over the treated sediment. We are well on our way to seeing the successful completion of the project by 2014.

On behalf of the agency, I thank you, the residents of Sydney and area, for bringing us your concerns in the past, and encourage you to continue to contact us as the project progresses. I also assure you that we will continue to strive to be courteous neighbours and remain respectful of your support. We will continue to do the job in a safe and effective manner.

Kevin MacDonald, P. Eng.
president and chief executive officer,
Sydney Tar Ponds Agency