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Port Stanley Harbour Risk Assessment
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Remediation areas outlined in red

As part of the transfer of Port Stanley harbour to the Municipality of Central Elgin, Transport Canada conducted and initial environmental risk assessment in 2010 and held public information sessions in June and December of that year. To voluntarily comply with new regulations in effect as of July 1, 2011, it was decided in 2011 that an updated risk assessment would be completed.

This required first updating the environmental risk assessments of Phase I and Phase II, completed in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Risks above the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) targets were identified in certain areas of the Harbour lands for both human and ecological receptors from certain chemicals including inorganics, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs). The results indicate that intervention should take place in certain areas to reduce risks to acceptable levels. These range from:

  • i) remediation involving removal of the contaminants from the site through treatment or disposal;
  • ii) risk management approaches whereby exposure is controlled using covers, caps or other engineered controls; and
  • iii) administrative controls where the land use is restricted or carefully managed to avoid elevated risk.

The risk assessment uses values that the MOE has developed for a residential/parkland use for the East Headlands (berm) and the Parkette, and industrial use elsewhere n the Harbour land. Yes, the Municipality has provided their preferred redevelopment option for the East Headlands (i.e., East Berm) and that option is being considered in the development of risk management measures.

Remediation has been recommended for two areas of the Harbour land where liquid PHCs have been identified on top of the groundwater table. Areas that have been recommended for remediation are shown above, outlined in red, and include locations where free=phase product may form (PHCs). Free-phase product can occur when contamination in soil or groundwater is present at levels where the contamination may become liquid. The liquid (or "product") can usually be seen in soil or groundwater. Free-phase product has been found at the Harbour lands on the West Pier (by the bridge and the D.O.C. building) and the East Headlands (the old P.U.C. site for the Village of Port Stanley).

In addition to the recommended areas for remediation, other chemicals found to potentially pose elevated risks at the Harbour land can be readily managed with Risk Management Measures (RMMs) which include a combination of a clean soil cap over the exiting soils (which can be landscaped) and/or hard caps (such as paved parking lots, paving stones or concrete. These caps effectively block contact of people and ecological receptors with contaminated soil. They are used in conjunction with administrative controls establishing additional protective measures be put in place for construction workers who could be working in deep soil, development restrictions and land use and ground water use restrictions.

What happens next?

There will be a Public Comment Period on the project from January 6th to February 28th, 2014, and a Public Information Session on January 28th, 2014 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Port Stanley Arena and Community Centre, 332 Carlow Road in Port Stanley. This session offers another opportunity to ask questions and provide comments. Display information from the session will be posted on the Municipality of Central Elgin's website after the session.

The risk assessment report will be completed following these activities and submitted to the MOE Standards Development Branch for review in Spring 2014. The Municipality will have an opportunity to review the draft risk assessment report, which includes the Risk Management Plan (RMP), prior to submission to the MOE. The MOE will review the report for up to 22 weeks and then either approve the risk assessment or issue comments on the report that need to be addressed. Typically, risk assessments are not approved after the initial submission and may require one or more rounds of review and revision.

Implementation of remediation and risk management measures will occur after the risk assessment has been completed and accepted by the MOE and a Certificate of Property Use (CPU) has been issued by the MOE District Engineer. Detailed plans and specifications will need to be developed. Implementation of the RMMs and remedial works is anticipated to begin in the latter half of 2015. The estimated costs are dependent on the remediation and risk management methods ultimately selected as well as the review and acceptance of the risk assessment. Under the agreement between Transport Canada and the Municipality, Transport Canada has agreed to pay for appropriate environmental remediation and/or risk management measures.

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