Cleaning Up Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour - Part of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Clean Water
With an investment of $30 million, our Government is taking real action to clean up one of the largest and most severely contaminated sites within the Canadian side of the Great Lakes – Hamilton Harbour. Through this commitment, our Government is addressing the principal environmental challenge facing the Harbour, the remediation of contaminated sediment in Randle Reef.
Randle Reef is an underwater deposit of 630,000 cubic metres of heavily contaminated coal tar (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that was deposited there over a long period of time, from industrial operations that have since closed operations. In Canada, it is second only to the Sydney Tar Ponds as a site contaminated by coal tar. The eight-year clean-up is expected to begin in 2008 and be completed by 2016.
In 2007, a research study by York University revealed that the net benefits (environmental, social and economic) of cleaning up Randle Reef are estimated at $126 million over 25 years. This project would further advance the economic competitiveness of the region through expanded port facilities and shoreline redevelopment.
The chosen method for addressing contaminated sediment in Randle Reef was developed in consultation with stakeholders, including the Hamilton Port Authority, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority, the Bay Area Restoration Council, Hamilton Steel (formerly Stelco) and the public. This approach of confined disposal and beneficial use is standard. It has been used in the Netherlands and is being proposed in many European cases on a much larger scale.
Hamilton Harbour is a 2,150-hectare embayment located at the western tip of Lake Ontario and connected to the lake by a ship canal across the sandbar that forms the bay. Several urban centres are located in the watershed and include the cities of Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Stoney Creek, Burlington, portions of Halton Region and the Township of Puslinch.
Areas of Concern are severely degraded geographic areas within the Great Lakes Basin. Restoring environmental quality is a priority due to their impact on local and basin-wide ecosystem health. The Governments of Canada and Ontario recently announced the 2007 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. The Agreement focuses on cleaning up the remaining 15 Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. The Randle Reef clean-up is part of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Clean Water and its goal of ensuring that all Canadians have access to clean, safe and healthy water.
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