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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment
Report



 
 



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 
 

This report presents the results of an updated Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of the Former Sydney Steel Plant Lands (the site). Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales (SMSS) retained SEACOR Environmental Inc. (SEACOR) to determine the presence of recognized environmental conditions at the site in accordance with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) practice Z768-94, Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). The Phase 1 ESA was completed in accordance with CSA guidance and SEACOR's professional proposal agreement with SMSS. The current study builds on the focused Phase I ESA conducted by SEACOR in 2001. SEACOR conducted the update of the Phase 1 ESA from November 2001 to February 2002, and this report describes conditions that existed on the site as of February 2002.

The original steel plant was constructed between 1899 and 1901. When the plant closed in 2000 the main processes at the plant included an electric arc furnace, continuous caster, bloom reheating furnace and rail milling facilities. Historically the fully integrated plant produced coke and coke by-products, pig iron, bulk steel in the form of ingots and billets, and finished products such as rails, bars, rods, tie plates, wire and nails. When the plant ceased operations in 2000, the facility was a "mini-mill" based on Electric Arc Furnace steel making.

The original (2001) scope of work for the Phase 1 ESA was confined to existing structures and buildings that were scheduled for demolition. The update was completed to include additional parcels of land and structures not included in the original scope of work, and to focus on historical land use and associated enviromental liabilities that may be present at the site. The updated Phase 1 provides a summary of potential environmental issues that may exist at the site, and a valuable link to the ongoing land use study as well as any subsequent subsurface investigations.

The study area consists of the former SYSCO steel plant, and lands maintained by the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works. The latter includes the Blast Furnace/Incinerator site, lands adjacent to Muggah Creek and the Coke Ovens Brook, lands adjacent to Ferry Street, the cooling pond area, and the High Dump Tank Farm. The current plant site and study area encompasses an area of approximately 440 acres (180 ha). The assessment also included a review of the historical and recent subsurface work completed at the Coke Ovens and other areas within the Muggah Creek Watershed.

Specifically, the objectives of the Former Sydney Steel Plant Lands Phase 1 ESA are to:

  • Identify potential surface and substrate soils liabilities that may be present at the site, including petroleum spills or leaks, heavy metal impacts, and contamination associated with subsurface infrastructure
  • Identify potential ground water liabilities that may be present at the site, including contamination from adjacent properties, petroleum spills, and contamination associated with subsurface infrastructure
  • Identify potential environmental issues associated with site structures
  • Compile relevant information that has come to light as a result of the hazardous materials investigations being carried out by SEARCO as part of the ongoing decommissioning and demolition project.

The Former Sydney Steel Plant Lands can be divided into four zones based on historic land use and industrial activities as shown in Figure 5-1. The four zones include the Steel Production Area, the Mills Area, the Production Support Area and the Infilled Lands. For the purpose of this assessment the four zones have been subdivided into 36 Site Classification Units (SCUs) in order to facilitate the discussion of environmental issues and to assist with future land use planning. The derivation of these units is based historical land use and industrial processes, known or suspected environmental issues, locations of structures to be retained for reuse, adjacent land areas required to facilitate the reuse of structures and segregation of designated waste disposal areas at the site.

To date, environmental testing has tended to be confined to specific locations or issues, such as the sampling of hazardous building materials as part of the demolition program. In the current demolition program, a decommissioning program is designed for each structure in order to ensure that all utilities, machinery, hazardous materials and environmental concerns have been appropriately addressed prior to the removal of each structure.

No studies have been undertaken to determine the presence, magnitude or extent of environmental impacts in soil or groundwater on the property. For the most part, potential environmental areas of concern have been identified based on past industrial activities, as obvious visible signs of impact do not tend to be widespread.

A review of historical information, regulatory records, interviews, and field observations at the site indicate that there are several potential environmental issues at the site which will require further investigation and attention prior to reuse or redevelopment of the site. These issues are presented in the Executive Summary table.

The potential environmental issues include but are not limited to:

  • Hazardous materials associated with structures and equipment
  • Underground utilities
  • Waste disposal and waste management
  • Impacted soil and sediment
  • Impacted groundwater

A list of 27 “Areas of Concern” has been developed and cross-referenced to the SCUs that are potentially included in each Area of Concern. Additional site assessment is required in order to determine the existence and extent of impacts associated with each of the 27 primary “Areas of Concern”. The Phase 1 ESA has identified potential environmental issues in all 36 SCUs within the study area. In order for any portion of the properties to be leased or sold, environmental testing will be required. The need for such testing will be driven primarily by due diligence requirements either on the part of SYSCO, the lessee, or a lending institution. All environmental site assessment activities should comply with the processes described in the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour Guidelines for the Management of Contaminated Sites in Nova Scotia.

The potential environmental issues identified in this report are typical of those associated with industrial demolition and redevelopment projects and can be addressed using conventional site assessment, remediation, site management, waste management and demolition methods with minimal risk to human health and the environment.


 
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