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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment



Infilled Lands


Between 1901 and 1990, the operators of the steel plant created 70 hectares of new land through the infilling of Muggah Creek and a portion of Sydney Harbour. The majority of infilling took place prior to 1950, when industrial by-products, primarily blast furnace slag, were deposited along the eastern shore of Muggah Creek. The ubiquitous slag has also been used to infill low areas across the site, cover the foundations of removed buildings and create and maintain roadways.

Over the years, various structures have been constructed on the infilled lands, including the Mobile Department shop and the high Dump Tank Farm. Disposal of slag and other industrial wastes continued throughout the operational history of the steel plant, with the High Dump area receiving all types of wastes including derelict equipment, sludges, contaminated soil, office waste and demolition debris.

Protesting he planned closure of the Steel Plant at the Ferry Street entrance in 1967 (Beaton Institute)

A detailed discussion of each SCU located on the Infilled Lands 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, and the progression of shoreline infilling is depicted in Figure 5-2.



Ferry Street Entrance (SCU 22)

  Located on the western side of the steel plant property, this parcel of land is bounded to the south and west by Muggah Creek, to the east by the West Side Road, and to the north by the Mobile Department area (Figure 5-1).

The area was historically a water lot prior to 1914, but was infilled between 1914 and 1939. From the beginning of the plant, the parcel has primarily been used as a main entrance to the steel plant, linking Ferry Street to the property. In the past, used oil was often used for dust suppression on roadways on the steel plant property.

Buildings located on the parcel include the sludge handling building and associated offices related to the Tar Ponds incinerator. Currently, the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) is using portions of the parcel as a temporary soil storage facility as part of the Muggah Creek Interceptor Sewer project. The area and buildings are maintained by DTPW. A walkthrough of the DTPW buildings was not included in the scope of work for this assessment.

The results of testing performed by JDAC in 2000/2001 indicate that one borehole location, MCES-005-MW, is located within this area. No guideline values were exceeded in soil samples submitted from this borehole. Groundwater from the same location exceeded the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines for certain heavy metals (sulfate, antimony, iron), EPA 625 (semi-volatile compounds such as naphthalene), PAHs and HCNs. These contaminant groups are consistent with Tar Ponds contamination.

The Ferry Street Bridge c. 1904 looking west at the Intercolonial Railway Yard (Beaton Institute)

The majority of open space in this area is covered with granular materials. Slopes at certain locations show signs of surface erosion. Overland drainage in the area may present the possibility of siltation and sediment impacts to receiving waters.
  Potential Environmental Issues  

Potential hazardous building material and environmental issues associated with the DTPW buildings may include ozone-depleting substances, and chemical storage. Lead-based paints, mercury-containing equipment, and asbestos-containing materials are not likely to be present since the buildings were built in the early 1990s.

Potential environmental issues consist of petroleum hydrocarbon, heavy metal, PAH, PCB and HNC impacts to soil and groundwater as a result of subsurface infiltration of Tar Ponds contamination as well as contaminated sediment underlying the fill material used to create the land.

Blast furnace slag was widely used as a fill material in this area. Various heavy metals are known to be present in blast furnace slag, but often in a highly immobile state. An important part of future environmental testing at this site will be the appropriate evaluation of heavy metal impacts in relations to their environmental risk.

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