Tailings area cap 80 per cent complete
Construction on the engineered cap on the tailings area is now about 80 per cent complete. The construction, which began in April 2011, is valued at $15.2 million. Golder Construction Inc. is doing the work, with a $1.2 million contract to McIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers Ltd. to act as contract administrator.
This is the first of three engineered covers planned for the site. The purpose of the caps is to cover contaminated wastes, isolating and containing them to ensure the site is safe for people and the environment.
The engineered cap on the tailings area consists of 122,000 tonnes of sand, 186,000 tonnes of soil, and 250,000 square metres of engineered fabrics (enough to cover 40 CFL football fields).
“This construction phase is a major milestone for the project, and I’m pleased to say we have an excel- lent team of professionals in place to effectively manage this large, complex site remediation,” said Richard Raeburn-Gibson, Assistant Director of the Ministry of the Environment’s Eastern Region.
The contractor will return next spring to plant nearly 20,000 hybrid poplar trees on the cap as part of the planned remediation strategy. At that point the construction of the tailings area cap will be complete.
Next phase of construction begins in January.
The ministry has awarded a contract to CSS Corporation, through its division, HAZCO Environmental Services to prepare the industrial and mining area for construction of an engineered cover. The value of the contract is $5.1 million, and was awarded following a competitive bidding process.
This is the first of three stages of work happening in the industrial and mining area. Work will begin in January 2012 with tree clearing and grubbing, and construction of a clay berm, which will be the footprint of the cover. Work on this stage of the project will continue until summer 2012.
All vehicles will be screened and decontaminated if necessary before leaving the site.
Protecting butternut trees
Work on the Deloro mine site cleanup project will, in the long-term, have a positive effect on populations of butternut trees, a species at risk. The ministry evaluated plants, insects, birds and other wildlife on site to see if any species at risk would be harmed by the cleanup construction. As reported in our 2009 newsletter, there are 10 species at risk on the mine site property.
“We’re taking extra precautions to protect the species at risk found on the Deloro mine site,” said Katharine Faaren, Deloro project manager, “the goal is to mini- mize disruption of plants, animals, birds and insects and their habitats.”
A species at risk is any native plant or animal that is at risk of extinction or of disappearing from the province. Both the federal and provincial governments have legislation in place that identifies and protects these designated species.
The only rare plant found onsite was the butternut tree. The ministry’s study found 24 live and 14 dead butternuts. Most of the butternuts on site were infected by butter- nut canker, a fungus disease that infects and kills mature butternut trees, as well as saplings and seedlings.
“Because construction could affect the trees, the healthy ones will be protected and dead or dying trees will be removed,” said Faaren, “but we’ve also done our part to boost populations of butternut trees locally.”
To compensate for a potential loss of trees at the Deloro site, the ministry worked with Quinte Conservation Au- thority to plant 110 new butternuts on a property within Hastings County. The trees were evenly spaced in a sunny location, with measures to discourage predators like mice and deer from feasting on the young shoots.
The trees are doing well, but are finicky, according to Tim Trustham, ecologist with the Quinte Conservation Authority. “The butternut is very slow to reproduce,” said Trustham, “taking about 35 years to produce its seed. It needs full sun, doesn’t do well in shade, and it’s susceptible to the canker fungus.”
The ministry will work with the Forest Gene Conservation Association through Quinte Conservation to identify, protect and promote the growth of genetically resistant butternut trees that may be found on the mine site.
For more information on Ontario’s species at risk legislation: www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/ index.html
For more information on the butternut tree, please refer to the Landowners Resource Guide: www.ont- woodlot-assoc.or
Trespassing on the mine site property is an ongoing challenge. In spite of the warning signs posted at regular intervals along the perimeter fence, and despite regular reminders to residents not to trespass, there have been two holes cut in the in fence line adjacent to the village in the last year. There have also been incidents of mischief, theft and vandalism. The ministry has notified the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). We will be enhancing site security through a variety of actions. The site is secured to protect human health. Anyone caught trespassing is subject to prosecution and fines. If you see trespassers, or any other illegal activity on site, please report it to the OPP (613-473-4234) and to the ministry (1-800-267-0974).
In the event of an emergency
The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) operates the arsenic treatment plant on the mine site. The plant is staffed 7 am to 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday. If you have questions or concerns about the operation of the on-site facility, please contact:
Bob Putzlocher (MOE) at 1-800-267-0974 or 613-540-6866, or Cindy Spencer (OCWA) 613-472-2131.
The contact numbers below can be used in the event of an emergency: Fire: 911 Spills: 1-800-268-6060
(MOE’s Spills Action Centre)
OCWA 613-472-2131 or after hours: Falcon Security at 1-800-342-6442.
Public Liaison Committee Meetings
The ministry holds public liaison committee (PLC) meetings three to four times a year at the Deloro community centre. If you are interested in becoming a member of the PLC, please contact 613-548-6927.
Keeping you informed
The ministry will continue to keep you informed about new developments on cleanup construction before it happens.
For more information
Heather Hawthorne Ministry of the Environment, Kingston Office Phone: 613-548-6927 Email: Heather.HawthorneOntario.ca
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