Transport Canada awards $17M for final remediation of former paint company site in BC

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Transport Canada has awarded a $17.6-million contract to a joint venture through QM/JJM Contracting to remove contaminants from the ecosystem around Laurel Point Park in the British Columbia city of Victoria. 

The Canadian environmental and industrial services company, which has offices in four provinces, has announced that the cleanup of the former paint manufacturing property will involve removing some 35,000 m3 of soil contaminated with pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and metals, then replacing it with new soil and grass. 

The first step of the cleanup project was to remove contaminated submarine sediments in Victoria Harbour. Work on the final stage of the remediation will begin in October and should be completed by the end of next year. 

Soil and groundwater were contaminated by the British American Paint Company (BAPCO) factory until 1975. When Victoria City Council received a report from SLR Consulting Ltd. earlier this year regarding a completed environmental risk assessment and remediation action plan for Laurel Point Park, it was noted that 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 also a First Nations burial site as part of the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations. 

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“Our joint venture’s team of technical experts has decades of experience performing remediation work to address a wide spectrum of environmental contaminants,” announced Justin Sharp, CEO of QM Environmental, in a statement to media. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Transport Canada by providing environmental cleanup services and sustainable solutions that will not only extend the use of the Victoria Harbour for commercial purposes, but also protect the wildlife beneath its surface,” added Sharp. 

SLR Consulting Ltd.’s investigation also found soil and groundwater concentrations exceeding applicable regulatory standards, including metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorophenols and PCBs.

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. Earlier this year, 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. 

“Victoria Harbour is used for industrial activity, tourism and local wildlife, and is a perfect example of the close connection between the environment and the economy,” stated Joyce Murray, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Digital Government, in an announcement to media. “This project will preserve Laurel Point Park as a wildlife feeding area, a place of recreation for locals and a tourist attraction for generations to come,” added Murray.

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