Contaminated sediment from the Esquimalt Graving Dock Waterlot will be laid to rest in Highlands.
The sediment is being removed from the graving dock on the north shore of Esquimalt Harbour, as part of a remediation project to bring the area back up to federal and provincial standards.
“Historical ship repair activities at the facility were ongoing before current environmental standards were in place, and have resulted in contamination of the seabed around the facility,” said David Latoski, interim director of EGD in a letter to Highlands council.
About 150,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment will make its way to Highwest Landfill on Millstream Road starting June 17.
“Potential short-term impacts on neighbouring communities include noise from construction and increased marine traffic,” wrote Latoski. The sediment will be moved by barge to a private facility on David Street then trucked to Highlands.
“I really felt this would be alarming to the community,” said Highlands Mayor Jane Mendum, explaining her first reaction to the news. “Almost the whole community is dependant on groundwater.”
Highlands completed its ground water study this year. It took three phases over several years including researching the aquifers, quality and quantity of ground water and learning how to protecting it.
Tervita Corporation operates Highwest Landfill which is licensed and regulated by the provincial government.
Representatives from Public Works and Government Services Canada and Tervita gave a presentation at the June 3 council meeting.
A full audience listened to a nearly two-hour presentation including a question period.
During the presentation council and meeting attendees were informed the cells where the contaminants will be held will be triple-lined to ensure no leaching occurs.
Another common concern was the issue of the transportation of the sediment to the landfill and the precautions taken while it’s trucked in, said Mendum.
Council is considering forwarding the information to private groundwater consultants for review.
“The federal government is working with the district to make the information available to our residents for an ongoing basis,” Mendum said.
Both Tervita and Public Works and Government Services Canada did not comment by News Gazette deadline.
Learn about Highlands’ soil removal regulations
A representative from the Ministry of Environment will be at the June 10 Committee of the Whole meeting in Highlands to discuss regulations on soil removal and deposits within the district.
Council recently passed its soil removal bylaw.
This information could pertain to people looking to construct a home and also for companies, such as Tervita, operating in the industrial zone.
This presentation was arranged before the announcement on the Esquimalt Graving Dock remediation project, but “I am glad we planned this,” said mayor Jane Mendum.
The committee meeting will be held at the Caleb Pike School House, 1589 Millstream Rd. on June 10 at 7 p.m.