Revised plan for clean up of Randle Reef

The most toxic coal-tar deposit in Canada is finally going to get cleaned up. The revised plans for Randle Reef – which has been a sore spot for locals for years – were revealed today.

“This has been a 20-30 year project in the making and to see it back on track is a good thing” says Hamilton City Councillor Chad Collins. That was the overwhelming sentiment in Hamilton City Hall today after Environment Canada announced revised plans to clean up the heavily polluted Randle Reef. The new plan includes sealing off the worst toxins, biproducts of decades of steel making along the shores of the Hamilton Harbour.

Jonathan Gee from Environment Canada explains that the first stage is “essentially building a very large, double walled steel box” over the most contaminated zone. A really large steel box, called an engineered containment facility, covering just over 6 hectares so about twelve football fields. In about 8-9 years, the space will be able to be used as a port.

This tactic has been used before, most recently in Tacoma, Washington, where a large cap was implemented on the shores of a former copper smelting plant. That space is now being used to build homes and businesses. The less toxic contaminants on Randle Reef will be covered by a thin layer sand cap that should eliminate their chances of causing any harm. So far, everything is within the $138.9-million budget.

The next step is to find a suitable contractor, the in-water work should start around the fall of this year.


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