AMEC to Prepare EIS for Canada's Largest Cleanup

AMEC has won the contract to prepare the environmental impact statement for the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The environmental assessment is the last step required before work on the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup can begin.

"AMEC is honored to have been chosen to work on the biggest cleanup job in Canada," said Shawn Duncan, AMEC's Head of Environmental Sciences and Planning in Nova Scotia. "We understand the issues relating to this project and its importance to the community. We're very eager to get started."

Wayne Vervaet, contracts officer for the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency said: "We have always strived for excellence on this project. AMEC has extensive experience carrying out environmental assessments on important projects like the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline and the Petitcodiac River cleanup. They will be a great help as we prepare to finally get cleanup work started."

AMEC will prepare the impact statement as part of the legally required environmental assessment of the cleanup. AMEC will also help the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency make presentations to federal and provincial regulatory authorities overseeing the environmental assessment. The AMEC contract includes management and coordination of all facets of the assessment including environmental and socio-economic impact assessment as well as public and regulatory consultation.

The project will take 10 years and produce 2,700 person-years of work. The federal and provincial governments have committed $400 million to get the job done.

The plan is to dig up and destroy the worst contaminants, using methods that have proved to be safe and effective on similar sites. Remaining materials will be treated in place and then contained within an engineered containment system. The cleaned-up sites will be landscaped to fit their natural surroundings or future site use.

No decision has been made as to the level of environmental assessment. Federal law allows three kinds of assessment: a screening, a comprehensive study, and a full panel review by independent experts who would hold public hearings.

Because the duration and intensity of the three levels of assessment vary widely, the length and value of the AMEC contract has not been be determined.

AMEC already has significant experience at this site. Over the last five years, AMEC has conducted a peer review and quality assurance program for a soil quality study, various site air quality and air monitoring programs, an ambient air monitoring program, an environmental description of the project area, and the development of a detailed description of the project.