Winter Storm Spreads Contaminated Soil onto Neighbours’ Properties

Stockpiled contaminated soil at a brownfield site was dispersed onto neighbouring properties in the Town of Sept-Îles, Quebec after a blizzard blew off the tarps that covered the contaminated soil.

Following the storm, neighbours began to complain about the persistent smell of gasoline when they stepped outside.  Concerns have been expressed by town folk that the contaminated soil will continue to impact more properties over time.

The source of the petroleum-impacted soil is the former Moisie military base.  The contaminated soil was excavated in the summer of 2016 and stored on site.  The storage piles were covered with tarps.

It is uncertain as to why the soil was not treated or removed prior to winter.  The Canadian Department of National Defence had awarded SNC-Lavalin, headquartered in Montreal, to $3 million contract to remediate the site.

Besides assurances to neighbours by the DND that tarps will be more securely tied down on the remaining stockpiles there is no plan on dealing with the contaminated soil that has blown onto neighbouring properties and the Moisie River.

The Town of Sept-Îles became home to RCAF Station Moisie in the late 1950s, when the Royal Canadian Air Force established a Pinetree Line early warning radar station nearby. The facility was later renamed CFS Moisie and closed in the 1980’s.

 

27th Annual International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air

March 20th to the 23rd 2017 will mark the twenty seventh annual gathering of environmental professionals to the Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air.  This year the event will take place at the Marriott Mission Valley in San Diego, California.

For the past twenty-six years, this annual conference has helped to bring the environmental science community closer together by providing a forum to facilitate the exchange of information of technological advances, new scientific achievements, and the effectiveness of standing environmental regulation programs.  The Annual AEHS Foundation Meeting and International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air offers attendees an opportunity to exchange findings, ideas, and recommendations in a professional setting. The strong and diverse technical program is customized each year to meet the changing needs of the environmental field.

Platform and poster sessions feature research, case studies, and the presentation of new programs. Exhibitions augment the conference program and bring applied technology to attendees.  Focused workshops provide attendees with practical information for immediate application.  Daily socials provide networking opportunities and discussion.

More information about the conference can be found at http://www.aehsfoundation.org/west-coast-conference.aspx.

Guide on Long-Term Contaminant Management Using Institutional Controls

The U.S. Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) recently published a guidance document on Long-Term Contaminant Management Using Institutional Controls (IC-1).  The guidance document was developed in response to the recent growth in the number of contaminated sites in the U.S. that are being managed through the use of institutional controls (ICs).

ICs are a form of land use controls that provide protection from exposure to contaminants on a site.  In contrast to engineered site remedies, ICs consist of government controls, proprietary controls, enforcement or permit mechanisms, and informational devices that limit land or resource use (thus protecting human health by controlling how the property is used).

The guidance manual includes a survey of current state practices for ICs, best practices for developing and managing ICs.  As part of the manual, there is a downloadable tool that can be used to document critical information about an IC.  This tool can help to create a lasting record of the site that includes the regulatory authority, details of the IC, the responsibilities of all parties, a schedule for monitoring the performance of the IC, and much more relevant information.  The tool generates an editable Long Term Stewardship (LTS) plan in Microsoft Word.

U.S. EPA Gives $3.8M for Clean-up of Brownfield Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has selected 19 communities for approximately $3.8 million in funding to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites as part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) program.  Each recipient will receive up to $200,000 to engage their community and conduct planning activities for brownfield site reuse.

The grants will help communities plan improvements such as housing, transportation options, recreation and open space, education and health facilities, social services, renewed infrastructure, increased commerce and employment opportunities.

“The Area-Wide Planning grant program is an innovation initiated by the Obama Administration to empower communities to transform economically and environmentally distressed areas, including communities impacted by manufacturing plant closures, into vibrant future destinations for business, jobs, housing and recreation,” said Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for U.S. EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management.  “These grants provide the opportunity for communities to determine for themselves revitalization plans that best meet their vision and needs based on a rigorous analysis of market and infrastructure in a manner that benefits and does not displace long-term residents.”

Assistant Administrator Stanislaus announced the new AWP recipients for funding at a community event in Norfolk, Va.

The U.S. EPA’S AWP program was modeled after New York State’s Brownfields Opportunity Area (BOA) Program, which was developed by communities – particularly lower income communities – to enable them to drive development that meets their needs without displacing them. Studies have shown that residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent. Data also shows that brownfields clean ups can increase overall property values within a one-mile radius. Preliminary analysis involving 48 brownfields sites shows that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup.

This year’s selected recipients for funding are:

  • Eastern Maine Development Corporation, Bucksport, Maine
  • City of Providence, R.I.
  •  Isles, Inc., East Trenton, N.J.
  • City of Wilmington, Del.
  • Redevelopment Authority of the City of Harrisburg, Pa.
  • City of Norfolk, Va.
  • University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.
  • City of Middlesborough, Ky.
  • Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, Charleston and North Charleston, S.C.
  • Near East Area Renewal, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Wayne County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, River Rouge, Mich.
  • Lorain County, Lorain, Ohio
  • Port of New Orleans, New Orleans, La.
  • City of Burlington, Iowa
  • Resource Conservation and Development for Northeast Iowa, Inc., Postville, Iowa
  • City of Glenwood Springs, Colo.
  • City of Orem, Utah
  • Trust for Public Land, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • City of Grants Pass, Ore.

Canada’s Supreme Court asked to Rule on Contaminated Landfill Site

The municipal government of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is appealing a court decision on Shawnigan Lake landfill to the Supreme Court of Canada.  The CVRD wants the Supreme Court to order that the landfill be shut down and that deposited contaminated soil be removed.  The landfill has a permit to operate that was issued by the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment.

A consortium of companies own and manage the landfill.  The companies include South Island Aggregates (SIA), Cobble Hill Holding (CBH), and South Island Resource Management (SIRM). The existing permit, issued by the B.C. Environment Ministry permits the disposal of approximately 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil at the landfill.

The Shawnigan landfill is the site of a former quarry.  The CVRD is of the view that existing zoning bylaws for the municipality does not allow the property to be used as a landfill.

In the spring of 2016, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled in favour of CVRD.  However, an appeal by the site owners to the B.C. Court of Appeal resulted in the lower court ruling being overturned.  Now CVRD is taking the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In the view of CVRD, the local municipality should have the ability to control land use through zoning bylaws and without provincial interference.  The Site owners are of the opinion that the quarry and landfill activity falls under provincial jurisdiction.

The consortium of companies that own and operate the landfill had 30 days to response to CVRD’s application to the Supreme Court to hear the case.  A decision by the Supreme Court on whether it will hear the case is expected shortly.

CVRD is not only asking the Supreme Court to reverse the decision on use of the property as a landfill but also require the property owners to remove any contaminated soil that has already been deposited.