Tar ponds project will bring traffic to Frenchvale

FRENCHVALE — Residents living in rural Frenchvale can expect a lot more trucks rolling through their community as work begins to cap the Sydney tar ponds.

Cape Breton Post
Wed., Nov. 10, 2010

During an open house at the Frenchvale fire hall Wednesday, Sydney Tar Ponds Agency officials and project experts said about 900,000 tonnes of clay sediment will be hauled from a nearby pit that is owned by Peters’ Construction.

About a dozen people attended the open house, including Mae Rowe, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor for District 13.

Agency spokesperson Tanya Collier MacDonald said the three-year project involves at least 38,000 truck hauls of 25 tonnes of sediment per load. That will mean up to 100 truck runs per day through Frenchvale and up to 200 runs during peak hauling.

The $19.1-million contract for the protective cap was awarded to Hazco Environmental Services which is employing local labour to carry out the project designed by AECOM engineers. “The reason why they’re using this clay is ... it helps us meet the specifications of the project,” said Collier MacDonald, who said the earth must meet specific drainage requirements.

Trucks will haul sediment from a pit located across the road from the Frenchvale fire hall, down the Frenchvale Road and onto Highway 125. The trucks will exit at Grand Lake Road onto the Sydney Port Access Road and then to the project site in north end Sydney.

Work to cap the tar ponds comes after nearly 100 years of steel and coke production left behind more than a million tonnes of soil and sediment that has been contaminated by various toxins, including PCBs and known carcinogens.

The cap will include a grading/bedding layer, a synthetic clay layer, a drainage layer, protective fill, topsoil and seed. It will direct rain and groundwater into a channel that carries brook water to the mouth of Sydney harbour. Trucking of sediment and the construction of the cap is expected to begin in two weeks.

In 2007, the federal government and province of Nova Scotia committed $400 million to ensure the remediation work is completed by 2014.