Another Drop March 2016
The United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) is pleased to invite you to its next free, public lecture!
Locking Up Randle Reef
Hamilton Harbour is home to the largest and most contaminated site within the Canadian side of the Great Lakes – Randle Reef. The site is approximately 60 hectares (120 football fields) in size containing approximately 695,000 cubic meters of sediment contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and other toxic chemicals. The contamination is often described as “a spill in slow motion” due to the continuing slow spread of contaminants across the Harbour floor and uptake into the food chain of the Harbour ecosystem. PAH contamination at Randle Reef is a legacy of a variety of past industrial processes dating back to the 1800s. There were multiple sources of contamination including coal gasification, petroleum refining, steel making, municipal waste, sewage and overland drainage.
The site was first identified as a principal target of Harbour restoration efforts in the late 1980s. Studies were conducted over several years to determine possible options for cleaning up the site. In 2002, a Project Advisory Group reached an agreement to explore the idea of containing and capping the sediment. An environmental assessment, project designs, and the quest to secure funding followed. The Randle Reef sediment remediation project involves constructing a 6.2 hectare engineered containment facility on top of a portion of the most contaminated sediment, then dredging and placing the remaining contaminated sediment in the facility.
This presentation will examine the history and characteristics of the problem and the solution.