September 11, 2006

Contract talks begin with Earth Tech for Tar Ponds cleanup design services

The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency (STPA) has begun contract talks with Earth Tech, the leading bidder in the competition to provide design services for the Tar Ponds and coke ovens cleanup.

If the discussions are successful the international engineering firm will carry out the detailed engineering for the cleanup, in partnership with its local partner CBCL. Earth Tech will also supervise construction during the eight-year project.

"At about $30 million, this will be one of the largest contracts awarded during the cleanup," said Frank Potter, acting CEO for the STPA. "Construction work on the cleanup will be divided into several projects to make it easier for local firms to take part," he added.

Earth Tech, which recently completed the preliminary engineering design for the cleanup, is one of three bidders in the tender competition. The others are AMEC, in partnership with Golder and Associates; and TARget Engineering, a consortium of Jacques Whitford's Halifax office, SNC-Lavalin, ADI, and ENSR. If discussions with Earth Tech are unsuccessful, the agency retains the right to open talks with one of the other two bidders.

The three companies were invited to bid after a preliminary evaluation of expressions of interest from major engineering firms. Earth Tech's bid was ranked first in technical merit and local economic benefits, and a close second in price. Evaluators based their scores on a weighting of 75% for technical merit, 15% for local economic benefits, and 10% for price. The bid price may be adjusted to reflect possible changes in the scope of the cleanup project when the provincial and federal governments respond to the environmental review panel's report issued in July.

Cleanup work in the Tar Ponds is expected to begin next year. Numerous preliminary cleanup projects, including the capping of a dump, the removal of buildings and debris, and the construction of an interceptor sewer to divert sewage from the Tar Ponds to a treatment plant, have already been completed. The construction of a barrier between the Tar Ponds and Sydney Harbour in its final stages, and the diversion of Coke Ovens Brook to clean channels is on schedule for completion this fall.

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