BC park on former paint site to be remediated by city next to federal cleanup project

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The British American Paint Company stored paint and raw products, at what is now known as Laurel Point Park, in both underground and ground-level storage tanks. Photo Credit: Checked In Victoria

The British Columbia city of Victoria has approved $3.1 million towards the remediation of Laurel Point Park, where soil and groundwater were contaminated by the British American Paint Company (BAPCO) factory until 1975.

In mid-May, Victoria City Council received a report from SLR Consulting Ltd. regarding the recently completed environmental risk assessment and remediation action plan for Laurel Point Park. That investigation found soil and groundwater concentrations exceeding applicable regulatory standards, including metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorophenols and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The remediation plan involved the removal of contamination up to three metres in depth.

“SLR completed a risk assessment that identified risks to human and ecological health when exposed to soils directly, or transmitted via underground pathways,” stated SLR’s assessment report for Victoria City Council. “Ecological risks from soil contamination transmitting to deep rooting plants and marine life cannot practically be controlled through operational means, but only through removal of soil contaminants,” the report adds.

According to the report, BAPCO stored paint and raw products at the site in both underground and ground-level storage tanks. Once the factory was removed, infilling of unknown materials occurred until 1978. Prior to the paint factory’s existence, the land was a First Nation burial site.

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SLR estimates the remediation work can be completed for a cost of $2.2 million, plus applicable taxes and contingency, if the project’s excavation, transport and disposal of contaminated soil from city property is done in conjunction with the neighbouring Transport Canada remediation project.

Additionally, an agreement with the federal government allows for remediation of city land in conjunction with Transport Canada’s Middle Harbour Fill Site remediation project. In recent weeks, Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc. completed dredging to remove hazardous chemicals such as PCBs in sediments found in the harbour near Laurel Point Park.‎ The dredging work consisted of removing 1,200 m3 of contaminated sediment from the sea bed.

The estimated cost of Transport Canada’s remediation is approximately $20-$25 million due to the size of their parcel and scope of their excavation.

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