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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment



Cooling Pond Area (SCU 3)


Located at the south end of the Sydney Steel Plant property, this parcel of land is bounded to the west by South Pond of Muggah Creek, to the east by the SYSCO Administration Building, to the North by Ferry Street, and to the south by Coke Ovens Brook (Figure 5-1).

Portions of the area were once part of Muggah Creek prior to being infilled sometime between 1914 and 1939. From the early 1900s to the late 1980s the General Offices for the steel plant also occupied the parcel. The former hospital and adjacent parking area remain in the northern part of SCU 3. The hospital was built between 1904 and 1914 and remains in use as a file storage building.

Process wastewater from the Mills Area was sent to the Cooling Pond, located to the west of the Administration. Wastewater was allowed to cool in this large, circular structure, and was then pumped back to the Mills for reuse. A sanitary wastewater treatment plant for SYSCO was built in the early 1970s.

Former Wastewater Trench with Pump
House and Cooling Pond

Another major underground process sewer crosses the northern end of this parcel of land. Through the years, this line was periodically cleared of sediment by pulling a device down through the sewer to Muggah Creek. The resulting sediment was then excavated and disposed in the High Dump. Following the discovery of PCB impacts in the Tar Ponds (Muggah Creek) in 1993, Environment Canada conducted sampling of sediments in various sewer lines on the Sydney Steel property. No PCBs were identified during this testing program (pers. comm., J. MacLean).


During the 1980s the parcel was used as a working and storage area for the Sydney Tar Ponds cleanup project. The area is currently being used by DTPW for soil storage associated with the sewer interceptor and Tar Ponds cleanup project. The Tar Ponds dredge (“Blue Heron”) is stored in this area.

The results of testing performed by JDAC in 2000/2001 indicate that one borehole location, MCES-006-MW, is located within this area. Soil samples collected from this borehole exceeded the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guideline values for commercial sites for EPA 625s (semi-volatile compounds such as naphthalene), PAHs, HCNs, and dioxins/furans.

Groundwater from the same location exceeded the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guideline values for heavy metals (barium and iron), EPA 625, PAHs and HCNs. The NSDEL Tier 1 guidelines were also exceeded for petroleum hydrocarbons. These chemical groups are consistent with Tar Ponds contamination.

  Potential Environmental Issues  

Potential hazardous building materials associated with buildings in this area include asbestos, PCB-containing light ballasts, lead-based paint, mercury lighting and UFFI. Other potential hazardous materials include creosote timbers, petroleum debris and wastewater sludge associated with the Cooling Pond.

Potential environmental issues associated with the former and existing land use of the parcel consist of potential and known petroleum hydrocarbon, heavy metal, and solvent impacts to soil and groundwater as a result of historic site activities. Additional PAH, HNC, PCB, and heavy metal impacts may be present in soil and groundwater as a result of contaminant intrusion from the Tar Ponds.

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