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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment



No. 1 and 2 Piers Area (SCU 20)


The original two shipping piers for the steel plant were located at the northernmost end of the site, just south of the Devco International Piers (Figure 5-1). These timber wharves were constructed early in the 20th century for the importation of raw materials needed in the steel making process, and the exportation of finished products.

Following the construction of the marginal piers in the 1960s and 70s, Piers 1 and 2 fell into disuse. The remains of the piers, with the exception of a section of the southern pier, were dismantled in 1998 as part of the PLI Environmental demolition project. Creosote timbers from this project are stored in SCU 20.


No's. 1 and 2 Piers with International Piers
to the right. The Buildings in the foreground
are the Brick Sheds (Beaton Institute)

As mentioned in Section 5.1.3, benzene was piped from the Coke Ovens site to a tank farm located adjacent to the International Piers. A 15-centimetre diameter pipeline followed the eastern boundary of the Blast Furnace Stockyard to three tanks that were later used for the storage of bunker "C" fuel. The tank farm, which was removed in 1998, was located in the Nos. 1 and 2 Piers Area.


Few significant buildings have been constructed in this area, which was mainly used as a transportation link between the finger piers and the rest of the site. A railway embankment situated where the southern pier joined the shore bears witness to this past. The in-load conveyor that connected the marginal piers with the Blast Furnace Stockyard also crosses this area.

Only three buildings are located in the area today. The Harbour Pump House, constructed in the early 20th century, drew salt water from Sydney Harbour for use as a cooling agent in the steel making process. Several electrical transformers are located in and around this building. The Docks Offices and a small annex building lie to the north of the Harbour Pump House. The latter remains in use as part of the Tar Ponds Incinerator system.

Two large brick storage buildings were formerly located to the east of the Harbour Pump House. Records indicate that the storage buildings were constructed between around 1914 and removed by 1953.

The majority of open space in this area is covered with granular materials. Slopes at certain locations show signs of surface erosion. Stormwater catchbasins are located throughout the area, presenting the possibility of siltation and sediment impacts to receiving waters.

  Looking East at the Blast Furnace Site
from No. 2 Pier C. 1901 (Beaton Institute)

Several sewers traverse the Blast Furnace Area. Over the years, it is suspected that a variety of chemicals and petroleum products may have been disposed through the steel plant sewer system, including the process sewer from the blast furnaces and boiler buildings. This sewer discharges at the head of Blast Furnace Cove. The potential exists for soil and groundwater impacts at location where this sewer line may have leaked or deteriorated.  

The majority of open space in this area is covered with granular materials. Slopes at certain locations show signs of surface erosion. Stormwater catchbasins are located throughout the area, presenting the possibility of siltation and sediment impacts to receiving waters.

  Potential Environmental Issues  

Potential environmental issues associated with the Nos. 1 and 2 Piers Area consist of heavy metal and acid drainage impacts to soil and groundwater as a result of long-term ore, coal and alloy handling. Soil and groundwater impacts (petroleum, metals, PAHs and HNCs) may be present as a result of bunker "C" and benzene storage, and soil impacts resulting from storage of creosote timbers.

The historical presence and operation of electrical transformers presents the possibility of PCB impacts to soil and groundwater in the vicinity of the Harbour Pump House. Hazardous building materials, such as asbestos and lead paint, may also be associated with the Harbour Pump House.



Blast Furnace Cove (SCU 21)

  As infilling of Muggah Creek progressed northward through the latter half of the 20th century, a gap was left between the infilled lands and the blast furnace area in order to accommodate sewer outfalls located to the northwest of the Open Hearth, and west of the blast furnaces (Figure 5-2). In this way, a cove was created from a portion of Muggah Creek. For the purpose of this report, SCU 21 is defined as shown in Figure 5-1.

  Looking East at Blast Furnace Cove with
PLI EnvironmentalDebris Disposal Area on opposite shore

Around 1966, a conveyor was constructed across the mouth of the cove to facilitate the transfer of raw materials from the SYSCO piers to the Blast Furnace Stockyard. No other construction has taken place in the cove, with the exception of occasional infilling around its perimeter.  
  During the 1998 PLI Environmental demolition project, demolition wastes were buried near the shore of the cove, immediately west of the storage bins adjacent to the No. 7 stoves. The nature of these materials is not known, but various sources have indicated that hazardous materials may have been disposed with the debris.

  Potential Environmental Issues  

In addition to the potential for buried hazardous waste mentioned in the preceding paragraph, potential environmental issues associated with Blast Furnace Cove are limited to contaminated sediment as a result of being, for nearly 100 years, the receiving water for heavy industrial effluent. Potential contaminants include heavy metals, PAHs, petroleum and PCBs.


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