Analysis of Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Sites Remediation Project Environmental Assessment of 2005
Table of Contents
2.0 Sydney Tar Ponds Environmental Assessment2
2.1 Critical Discussion4
The Sydney Tar Ponds in Nova Scotia are the result of lack of foresight by the Canadian government and the Dominion Iron & Steel Company Ltd. on the effects of the steel mills operations on the social, economic and environmental factors which affected the communities around the tar ponds. The Coke Ovens is a 68 hectare former industrial property bounded by residential and former ...view middle of the document...
The steel mill provided many jobs and boosted the local economy while it was active from 1901 – 1988. The mill had 400 coke ovens, four blast furnaces and 10 open hearth furnaces (Lambert & Lane, 2004). By the 1960s, the plant stopped making profit and Sydney’s economy declined (Liu & Bryson, 2009)
In 2007, the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia approved a $400 million project to clean up the tar ponds, but it took many years for the project to pass the environmental assessment process. In 2001 the province closed the steel plant and created the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency to manage the cleanup of the tar ponds and coke ovens. A proposal was submitted to undergo an environmental assessment required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Nova Scotia Environment Act. The proposed project estimated that remediation of the Coke Ovens would be complete by 2011 and the remediation of the Tar Ponds would be complete by 2014. The main method of remediation that the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency considered was incineration of the contaminated sediment but they provided an alternative method of solidifying/stabilizing the tar ponds sediment in place, and treating the Tar Cell material and Coke Ovens Brook sediments similarly. The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency’s proposed plan expected to generate between 380 and 435 years of fulltime employment during the construction phase of the project and predicts that 65-75% of labor and supplies will be sourced from Nova Scotia. Refer to Appendix 1 for a map defining the area boundaries.
2.0 Sydney Tar Ponds Environmental Assessment
An independent Joint Review Panel was appointed on September 19, 2005 to conduct the environmental assessment of the project proposed by the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency. The Panel concluded that though the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency described the project as a permanent remediation, only the Coke Ovens would be permanent, but the Tar Ponds would have to be managed in perpetuity. Both the community and the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency placed great importance on the use of proven technologies. The Panel was not convinced that the solidification/stabilization technology was proven for use in the Tar Ponds context, and believed that further pilot studies needed to be carried out before the technology could be approved. The Panel concluded that, with appropriate technology selection and stringent regulation, incineration could be carried out without significant adverse effects on the environment but due to public concern the Panel believed that “full containment and no incineration” alternative would be a better approach than employing incineration. The Panel also kept in mind that whichever method was used, the land had to be useable again in the future. The final decision was to incinerate PCB-contaminated sediments and the remaining materials would be treated and contained within an engineered containment system. Refer to Appendix 1 for the Steps in the Review Panel Process...