Site of New Ottawa Hospital on Contaminated Land

Recent documents released by Public Services and Procurement Canada shows that the site proposed for a new hospital in Ottawa has groundwater contamination.

In 2014, the Sir John Carling Building was demolished in Ottawa to pave way for a new hospital.  Reports recently made public show that the groundwater at the site is contaminated and the cost of clean-up could be substantial.

Phenol contamination in the groundwater found at the site in 2014, shortly after the Sir John Carling Building was demolished, is suspected to be from the explosives used demolishing the building.

Management and control of the contamination at the site is currently the responsibility of Public Works Canada.  An environmental protection compliance order (EPCO) issued by Environment Canada and Climate Change (ECCC) requires that Public Works Canada monitor the groundwater and ensure no contamination migrates off-site.

An EPCO is one of the tools under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” (CEPA 1999) that allows enforcement officers from ECCC to handle offences without using the court system.  Its purpose is to restore an offender to compliance with the CEPA 1999 as quickly as possible.  EPCOs may be issued to prevent a violation from occurring; stop or correct a violation that is occurring or continues to occur; and correct an omission where conduct is required by CEPA 1999 or one of its regulations, but is not occurring.

One of the concerns expressed with respect to the need to clean-up the site is that the monies used will take away design, construction, and operating costs associated with the hospital.

 

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