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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment



Production Support Area


Occupying the southern end of the Sydney Steel Plant site is the Production Support Area. Approximately 40 buildings were constructed in this 16-hectare area over the past 100 years, six of which remain today. In addition to the maintenance shops, several production mills were also located here. Other support buildings included the General Offices, the Hospital, and the Liquid Air oxygen plant.

The extensive and varied use of this area, combined with a lack of detailed records regarding storage tanks, chemical use and waste disposal, presents the possibility of numerous isolated environmental issues. These include subsurface impacts associated with former underground storage tanks, galvanizing facilities, and chemical storage areas. Lubricants and solvents were used throughout the shops and mills, potentially resulting in impacts to soil and groundwater on the site.

As with the Mills Area, impacts from the DOMTAR site may have impacted soil and groundwater in the Production Support Area. In addition, Coke Ovens Brook and the Tar Ponds, both areas of known contamination, may have impacted the Production Support Area.

  Looking Southwest at the original Machine Shop c.1920
(Beaton Institute)

A detailed discussion of each SCU located within the Production Support Area follows. Potential environmental issues associated with each SCU are discussed at the end of each section. Historical building existence information is provided in Appendix D.  


Cape Breton Street Parking (SCU 1)


Located at the extreme south end of the Sydney Steel Plant property, this undeveloped parcel of land is bounded to the south and east by the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway line, to the west by Inglis Street, and to the north by Cape Breton Street (Figure 5-1).

The area has historically been used as parking and storage area. The main rail lines entering the Sydney Steel Plant traverse this area. No evidence of historical industrial activity has been identified during the course of this study, with the exception of rail car storage. No buildings, storage tanks, or underground utilities are known to have existed on the property.

The area currently remains in use as a parking area for people working on the Sydney Steel Plant property. Minor surface debris and litter were noted at various locations. In the past, used oil was often used for dust suppression on roadways on the steel plant property.

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 consist of petroleum, heavy metal and PAH impacts to surface soils as a result of historic parking and rail activities, as well as atmospheric deposition from industrial operations and locomotives. Subsurface impacts may be present as a result of contamination in the vicinity of Coke Ovens Brook.


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