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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  News Environmental Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan - June 2017 Update

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Environmental Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan  June 2017 Update
Port Stanley Harbour site layout and new
areas (marked in red) to be capped West Pier,
East Headlands, East Pier South and East Pier North.

Port Stanley Harbour, Port Stanley, Ontario

Introduction/Background

Transport Canada transferred ownership of Port Stanley Harbour to the Municipality of Central Elgin in September 2010. This included the water lot and four land parcels: West Pier, East Headlands, East Pier South and East Pier North/Parkette.

As part of the transfer agreement, Transport Canada committed to completing an environmental risk assessment and implementing remediation and/or risk management measures to enable the specified land use (i.e., parkland for East Headlands; commercial/industrial for West Pier and the East Pier lots), according to Ontario Regulation 153/04 (O.Reg. 153/04) requirements. Transport Canada also committed to preparing documents necessary to support the Municipality of Central Elgin in filing for a Record of Site Condition for each of the land parcels.

Transport Canada has been actively working on the risk assessment and associated tasks since the time of transfer. This has included completing several rounds of environmental investigations, preparing environmental risk assessment and risk management plan reports, addressing comments from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), and updating the public through public information sessions and project updates. The most recent Project Update was issued April 2016.

What is an environmental risk assessment?

An environmental risk assessment is a scientific process used to describe and estimate the likelihood of potential adverse health effects (i.e., potential risks) to human and ecological receptors resulting from exposure to contaminants at a site. Three components must be present for potential risks to exist:
  • 1. contaminants must be present at concentrations sufficient to cause a possible adverse effect;
  • 2. a receptor (e.g., people, wildlife) must be present; and,
  • 3. a complete exposure pathway by which the receptor(s) can come into contact with the contaminant must be present.

When potentially unacceptable risks are identified in an environmental risk assessment, remediation and/or risk management is required to address the risk.

What is the status of the Port Stanley Harbour lands environmental risk assessment?

The risk assessment report is currently under review by MOECC. MOECC may decide to approve the risk assessment, or issue comments that must be addressed prior to approval. The timeline for approval cannot be estimated, as it will depend on the nature and extent of MOECC’s comments.

What are the results of the risk assessment?

Potential risks to human and ecological receptors have been identified in certain areas of all four land parcels, due to inorganic, metal, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in soil and/or groundwater. Remediation and risk management measures are required to reduce risks to acceptable levels.

What is the difference between remediation and risk management measures?

Remediation typically involves removing contaminants from a site through on-site treatment or off-site disposal. Risk management typically involves managing contaminants in place, using covers and/or administrative controls to block the exposure pathways identified as causing a potential risk.

Both remediation and risk management strategies are designed to effectively reduce risks, and are both equally protective of human and ecological health. Various factors (e.g., engineering feasibility, fiscal responsibility, etc.) must be considered when determining which remediation and/or risk management option(s) to use. Remediation and risk management measures can be used either individually or in combination to successfully manage risks in an environmentally and fiscally responsible manner.

What remediation/risk management measures have been implemented at Port Stanley Harbour to date?

Areas contaminated with free-phase petroleum hydrocarbons were remediated during the summer/fall of 2016. This included areas at the West Pier and East Headlands. Remediation was completed by excavating contaminated soils, disposing of the contaminated material at a licensed off-site facility, and backfilling the excavations with clean soil. A 6-month post-remediation verification monitoring program was completed, and confirmed the remediation was a success.

What additional remediation and/or risk management measures are being proposed for Port Stanley Harbour?

Potential risks associated with contaminants remaining at the site will be addressed through the implementation of risk management measures. The risk management plan for the site includes the following measures:

  • Installing/maintaining new or existing caps to block exposure to contaminated soil. Caps may consist of soft or hard materials, such a soil or concrete/asphalt.
  • Ensuring construction workers use personal protective equipment when working beneath capped areas.
  • Installing soil vapour intrusion controls on potential future buildings in certain areas.
  • Prohibiting fruit/vegetable gardens and drinking groundwater from the properties.
  • Implementing a maintenance/monitoring program to ensure risk management measures comply with requirements.

Where are caps required, what will they be made of, and when will they be placed?

In certain areas, the existing surface material is effectively functioning as a cap. In those areas, no alterations are immediately required (although, they do need to be monitored/maintained, and the Municipality may choose to update those areas in the future). For example, the existing concrete walking path on West Pier is currently acting as a cap, and does not need to be altered at this time. However, in other areas, new caps will be required to effectively block exposure to contaminants that could potentially cause a risk. Areas where new caps will be placed are identified in Fig. 1.

At West Pier, a new soil cap will be placed next to the concrete walkway (i.e., over the existing soil). For the East Pier parcels, a new cap will be placed along the width of the properties, mainly consisting of a concrete walkway, with limited areas of soil along the edges. For East Headlands, a soil cap will be placed over the majority of the parcel. Detailed plans and engineering specifications for the caps are being finalized. Construction is expected to start in summer 2017, and should be completed by late fall 2017.

Has Transport Canada been consulting with the Municipality of Central Elgin regarding coordination of plans?

Yes. Transport Canada and Municipality of Central Elgin staff have been working closely to ensure commitments made in the transfer agreement are being met, and that the Municipality’s preferred land use plans are being coordinated with the risk management and remediation works, to the extent possible. In that regard, Transport Canada and the Municipality of Central Elgin are collaborating on plans for the West Pier and East Pier parcels, to ensure the objectives of both parties are met, while making the best use of public funds.

What can the public expect during the capping works?

Construction zones will be established, including the areas that will be capped, as well as adjacent areas where soils, machinery and other project tools will be stored during construction. Large machinery will be onsite, and trucks will be moving soil to and from the site along designated routes.

Existing vegetation will be removed from areas requiring a cap. Works will be overseen by an environmental consultant, and measures required to mitigate potential environmental effects will be in place (e.g. sediment and erosion controls, etc.).

Construction zones will be fenced and public access to those areas will be prohibited. For areas that will be capped using a clean soil layer, public access will be temporarily restricted after construction has been completed, to ensure the cap is stable, and that vegetation has an opportunity to establish without disturbance.

What is required to file for a Record of Site Condition, and when will that happen?

Once the risk assessment is approved, MOECC will prepare a Certificate of Property Use (CPU), which must be registered on title and implemented by the Municipality of Central Elgin. The CPU will be based on the risk management plan described in the risk assessment report, and any other measures MOECC deems necessary. The records of site condition can be filed on MOECC’s Environmental Site Registry once the CPU has been registered, and supporting documents have been updated.

Whom can I contact with any questions?

Any questions from the public regarding Transport Canada’s risk assessment, risk management and remediation work for Port Stanley Harbour may be directed to Mary Louise Canning, Regional Manager of Port Operations, Divestiture & Property Programs, by phone at (416) 952-0484 or by e-mail at marylouise.canning@tc.gc.ca. Media representatives may contact Transport Canada Ontario Region’s Communications Branch at 416-952-9500.

Any questions for the Municipality of Central Elgin may be directed to Lloyd Perrin, Director of Physical Services, by phone at (519) 631-4860 or by e-mail at lperrin@centralelgin.org.

Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2017 15:41:46 PM EST

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