Environment Canada, Hamilton Port Launch Randle Reef Test Project
Environment Canada and the Hamilton Port Authority are launching a structural test project that will provide further information to help in the development of the proposed Randle Reef sediment remediation project.
The test project will involve pile driving on Randle Reef in order to confirm engineering design details. The resulting information will be incorporated into future engineering specifications for the construction stage of the proposed sediment remediation project at Randle Reef.
“The clean-up of Randle Reef is important for the future of this community and reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to clean water for Canadians,” said Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent. “This test project is a significant step in moving the proposed Randle Reef sediment remediation project forward.”
“Like so many members of our community around the harbour, we are pleased to see the remediation of Randle Reef moving ahead. This test project will give us valuable information as we progress toward the construction phase,” said Hamilton Port Authority President and CEO Bruce Wood.
Randle Reef is an area of contaminated sediment located in Hamilton Harbour. The proposed Randle Reef sediment remediation project involves constructing an engineered containment facility on top of a portion of the most contaminated sediment, then dredging and placing most of the remaining contaminated sediment in the facility. The facility will be constructed of double steel sheet pile walls with the outer walls being driven to depths of up to 24 metres into the underlying sediment. In total, the facility will securely contain 630,000 cubic metres of sediment contaminated with coal tar (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and heavy metals.
The test project being launched today involves hammering sheet piles into the lakebed to the depths specified in the engineered containment facility design. Sheet piles are interlocking steel sheets that join together to form a continuous barrier. In this test, pairs of piles will be tested at separate locations around the perimeter of the proposed facility. The results of this pilot test will provide an indication of the force required to drive piles at this site, providing more accurate information regarding the construction of the containment facility.
Hamilton Harbour is a 2,150 hectare bay located at the western tip of Lake Ontario and is connected to the lake by a ship canal. In 1985, it was identified as an Area of Concern under the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement due to significant impairment of water quality. While many improvements have been made to reduce pollution in the harbour, the problem of contaminated sediments remains.
Cleaning up Randle Reef will improve water quality and reduce contaminant levels in aquatic organisms, making it safer to consume fish caught in the harbour. It will also remove current restrictions on navigation and generate economic returns through the creation of valuable port lands.
The Government of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Port Authority, U.S. Steel Canada, the City of Burlington, and the Regional Municipality of Halton are all working together to advance the proposed Randle Reef sediment remediation project.
Press Release, December 11, 2012; Image: fmtcargo