March 10, 2000

Cleanup to start at DND radar site

The Department of National Defence (DND) will begin cleaning up damage from a January fire at its North Warning System radar site at Lady Franklin Point. Sampling and tests carried out shortly after the fire show amounts of inorganic elements, fuel products and glycols at levels above standard as a result of the fire. The contamination was found in the snow and ash up to 40 metres downwind from the fire. Local concentrations of PCB were also detected at the site. There is no public risk, however, as these areas are clearly marked by signs. Moreover, the closest inhabited community is 110 km from the site.

At this stage, the full scope of work to be done is still being assessed, along with possible cleanup options. This will need to be completed before a contract for the actual work is awarded. The first part of the cleanup is expected to begin in May and will consist of excavating all contaminated snow and ash and treating it on site. The fire-damaged building will be stabilized so as to pose no further environmental risk. The Department says it will take two years to conduct a thorough investigation and determine the most appropriate methods for cleanup to meet federal standards as part of the continuing Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line cleanup project.

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