March 14, 2005

Engineering tender issued for pre-design work relating to Sydney Tar Ponds

The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency has issued the first engineering tender for the $400-million cleanup of the tar ponds and coke ovens. The agency, which is charged with managing the federal-provincial project, is seeking an engineering consultant to provide pre-design services for the job. "This is the first step in actually carrying out the big cleanup," said project engineer Wilfred Kaiser. The tender for the pre-design engineering services contract closes March 24.

The successful bidder will work from the project description released in February to develop a more detailed understanding of each project component and to assign more precise unit cost estimates to each step in the process. The pre-design engineering work will assist in the production of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project. The EIS, which is being prepared by AMEC Earth and Environmental, will be subject to a thorough environmental review.

While major construction on the cleanup is not expected to begin until 2007, after the assessment is complete, the project team has already carried out several key preliminary cleanup tasks, including the capping of an old city dump which had been leaking contaminated groundwater onto the coke ovens, the removal of surface structures and debris, and the construction of an interceptor sewer which will stop the daily flow of millions of litres of raw sewage into the tar ponds.

In addition, engineering is well underway for several construction projects intended to prevent environmental damage during the environmental assessment. These include the re-routing of Coke Ovens Brook, the cleanup of the Sysco cooling pond, the re-routing of the Whitney Pier watermain, and the construction of a cofferdam at the mouth of the Tar Ponds. Construction on the first three preliminary preventive works is expected to begin this summer. The cofferdam will be constructed in 2006.

A complete description of the project, along with an animated video showing how the cleanup will work, may be viewed on the project Web site, www.tarpondscleanup.ca. More information is also available from Wilfred Kaiser at the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, 902/567-1035 or 902/565-2208, E-mail morykori@gov.ns.ca.

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