Removing over a century of contamination from Hamilton Harbour

Last week, local and state officials gathered in Hamilton Harbour, Ontario, to celebrate the successful completion of Stage 2 of the Randle Reef Remediation Project.

This is a significant step to remove toxic substances and restore water quality and ecosystem health in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern.

During Stage 2, over 615,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment was removed from the Hamilton Harbour.

The sediment was primarily dredged and placed into an Engineered Containment Facility (ECF) constructed during the first stage, while the remaining contaminated sediment was capped in place.

“Today marks the completion of a major step in the cleanup of Randle Reef, with enough contaminated sediments removed and contained to fill a hockey arena three times. Local residents will be happy to know that we are cleaning up the local harbour from the long legacy of industrial activity through a model of collaboration between many partners,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“We’re pleased to celebrate this important milestone with Environment and Climate Change Canada and all of the project partners. The Randle Reef Sediment Remediation Project is a transformational step in improving the health and water quality of Lake Ontario, and the image of Hamilton itself. As we enter the third and final phase, HOPA looks forward to a new chapter in the history of Hamilton Harbour, and transitioning this site into a productive port facility,” commented Ian Hamilton, President & CEO of the Hamilton–Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA Ports).

The Randle Reef Remediation Project is a joint initiative involving the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Hamilton, Halton Region, the City of Burlington, Hamilton–Oshawa Port Authority, and Stelco.

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The $138.9-million cleanup is funded through a public‑private approach, with the federal government and the Province of Ontario each contributing a third of the funding and the remaining third collectively funded by local partners.

As part of the third and final stage of the project, scheduled to begin in fall 2022 and be completed by 2024, a multi-layered environmental top will be placed on the ECF as a final step to isolate contaminants. Once complete, the area will provide valuable new port land that will be managed by the Hamilton–Oshawa Port Authority, contributing to economic growth for the community.

Photo: Bay Area Restoration Council