High wa­ter lev­els slow Ran­dle Reef con­struc­tion

‘Heart and soul’ of the project gets a $32.9-mil­lion boost

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MARK MCNEIL mm­c­neil@thes­pec.com 905-526-4687 | @Markatthes­pec

The first stage of the mas­sive Ran­dle Reef en­cap­su­la­tion project has been ham­pered by record high wa­ter lev­els this sum­mer. But project man­agers say they still ex­pect to fin­ish con­struc­tion as planned by the end of the year.

Hamilton Har­bour wa­ter lev­els, which peaked May 29, have gone down 20 cen­time­tres since then.

But they still need to fall an­other 20 cen­time­tres be­fore sec­tions of the struc­ture that are cur­rently un­der­wa­ter can be welded, said Jon Gee, man­ager of ar­eas of con­cerns with En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Canada.

“We have an ac­cel­er­ated plan that we have put into place. Hope­fully, if the wa­ter lev­els get to where we need them to be we will be done by the end of the year, which has been our tar­get,” he said.

Mean­while, Cather­ine McKenna, the fed­eral min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change, was in Hamilton Fri­day to an­nounce the award­ing of the sec­ond-phase con­tract, for $32.9 mil­lion.

The con­trac­tor — a joint ven­ture be­tween Mile­stone En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­tract­ing Inc. and Fraser River Pile and Dredge (GP) Inc. — will dredge and place con­tam­i­nated sed­i­ment from the har­bour bot­tom into a con­tain­ment fa­cil­ity that is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion.

“Phase 2 is re­ally the heart and soul of this project — re­mov­ing and con­tain­ing con­tam­i­nated sed­i­ment from Ran­dle Reef ... with ba­si­cally a huge vac­uum cleaner,” McKenna said.

At one point, McKenna, who grew up in Hamilton, ac­tu­ally broke into tears as she talked about re­turn­ing when the over­all project is done and swim­ming in Hamilton’s bay.

The Ran­dle Reef Con­tam­i­nated Sed­i­ment Re­me­di­a­tion Project will cost $138.9 mil­lion, over three stages, and is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in 2022.

The project is an ef­fort to con­tain a 60-hectare coal tar blob of sed­i­ment con­tam­i­nated with poly­cyclic aro­matic hy­dro­car­bons and heavy met­als near Stelco prop­erty in Hamilton Har­bour that in turn will lead to bet­ter wa­ter qual­ity and a health­ier ecosys­tem.

The 6.2-hectare con­tain­ment box, called an En­gi­neered Con­tain­ment Fa­cil­ity (ECF), is dou­ble­walled in steel and is be­ing built around the most toxic sec­tion of the reef.

Once com­pleted, less-con­tam­i­nated sed­i­ments from around the fa­cil­ity will be dredged into the boxed-off area.

The first stage be­gan in Septem­ber 2015 with pier wall re-con­struc­tion. In-wa­ter con­struc­tion of the con­tain­ment fa­cil­ity be­gan in May 2016.

Stage Two in­cludes the dredg­ing of con­tam­i­nated sed­i­ments from the sur­round­ing ar­eas and plac­ing them in the ECF via an un­der­wa­ter pipe­line. This stage is ex­pected to be­gin in the spring of 2018 and be com­pleted by late 2019.

Stage Three in­cludes de­wa­ter­ing the con­tained sed­i­ments and con­struc­tion of a cap on the ECF to turn the area into a pier fa­cil­ity for the Hamilton Port Au­thor­ity.

The stage is ex­pected to be­gin in 2020 and be com­pleted in 2022.

JOHN RENNISON, THE HAMILTON SPEC­TA­TOR

MP Bob Brat­tina and Cather­ine McKenna, Min­is­ter of the En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change, look out over Hamilton Har­bour af­ter the $32.9-mil­lion an­nounce­ment

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