June 14, 2004

Sask Centenary Fund successfully concludes site cleanup program

Saskatchewan Environment has successfully completed its four-year program to clean up contaminated sites. The $6.5-million initiative, paid for by the Provincial Centenary Fund, cleaned up six high-risk contaminated sites and implemented a program to clean up abandoned service stations. "I'm pleased to acknowledge the cleanup work carried out under the Centenary Fund, which recognizes the province's 100th anniversary and government's commitment to a green and prosperous economy," said Environment Minister David Forbes. The six sites are as follows.

Shragge Steel: The former metal smelting, car battery storage, hadware/steel sales and general salvage operation in Regina resulted in high levels of heavy metal contamination at the site. The department worked with the city of Regina to complete cleanup of the site during the first year of the Centenary Program.

IPCO: The former herbicide production facility in Saskatoon manufactured products such as 2-4-5T and 2,4D, with waste byproducts discharged into unlined pits. This cleanup was completed in the spring of 2003.

NWR Salvage: During 2002 and 2003, all contaminated material at this battery salvage and scrap iron yard west of Saskatoon was encapsulated on site to prevent contamination from leaching into the environment. The five-year operation of this facility had resulted in lead and sulfuric acid contamination of the site, which posed a serious threat to domestic wells in the area.

Sask Forest Products (SFP)/Domtar: A wood treatment facility which operated within the city of Prince Albert from the 1930s to 1976 resulted in heavy contamination with creosote and other wood preserving chemicals, including pentachlorophenol. The problem was compounded by the installation of a storm sewer across the property in 1979, which acted as a conduit for contaminants to migrate into the North Saskatchewan River. Centenary Fund-supported cleanup began in the early winter of 2002 and continued into early 2003. The fund contributed $1 million toward the remediation of an area adjacent to the 12th Avenue Woodland Campus access road and an old surface drainage channel. In 1994, a partnership involving the province (through SFP's successor, Crown Investments Corporation), CN Railway and the city of Prince Albert spent another $3 million to clean up the SFP site and reinstall the sewer so as to arrest the flow of contamination to the river. Saskatchewan Environment is currently meeting with the city of Prince Albert to determine what additional monitoring and/or subsequent remediation will be carried out in the future.

Inland Steel: The site of a former metals salvage operation in Saskatoon was the subject of an investigation to determine the area of contamination. This work was done by Saskatchewan Environment in conjunction with the city of Saskatoon, and in 2003 the site cleanup was completed.

Northern Petroleum Refinery: This facility on the west side of Kamsack, within 300 metres of the Assiniboine River, operated for about 30 years until a fire shut it down in the 1970s. The site was never properly decommissioned, resulting in contamination from oil pits and residual petroleum. Remedial work began in 2002-2003 and continued in 2003-2004. The remaining fuel-contaminated soil is scheduled to be cleaned up during the 2004 work season.

The Orphaned Fuel Storage and Sales Facility Cleanup Program targeted hydrocarbon-contaminated properties typically acquired by municipalities through tax enforcement proceedings. All cleanups have benefited from "in-kind" contributions from local governments. Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) and the province formed a management board to deliver the program in conjunction with local governments. Industry has signed agreements to provide funding assistance for clean-ups contingent on provincial government funding.

The program has focused on cleaning up moderate- to high-risk sites, and has resulted in the assessment of 436 sites as well as the cleanup of 103 sites. Work carried out under the Centenary program has removed contamination protecting groundwater and surface water supplies and local infrastructure (natural gas, telephone, water, sewer) from being damaged by hydrocarbon contamination. These newly cleaned sites offer municipalities the potential for generating positive economic development and added tax revenues.

More information is available from Joe Muldoon at Saskatchewan Environment, 306/787-6178. On-line information on contaminated site cleanup may also be found at www.aboutremediation.com or www.canadianbrownfieldsnetwork.com.

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