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February 13, 2024

Cleaning up after industry

Strong negotiation skills resulted in the inclusion of Port Hope industrial sites in the planned cleanup of low-level radioactive waste called the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI).  As part of the Legal Agreement signed in 2001, the Government of Canada through the Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL) would remove a limited amount of industrial waste from sites identified by the Municipality of Port Hope.

The Lions Recreation Centre Park, the Former Coal Gasification site, Centre Pier, and Chemetron Lagoon are industrial sites currently being cleaned up as part of the PHAI. The Sewage Treatment Plant Cell, an area of waste located next to the Port Hope Waste Water Treatment Plant, is also an industrial site which was completed in 2019.

Both Lions Park and Chemetron Lagoon were very active work sites in 2023, shipping industrial waste to the Long-Term Waste Management Facility (LTWMF) for safe storage. If material from an industrial site is found not suitable for storage at the Port Hope LTWMF, it was shipped to a third-party processor for refinement and safe long-term storage in an appropriate facility.

Water management was one of the challenges at the Lions Park that resulted in longer excavation times, pushing completion into 2024. While work focused on the eastern end of the property, near the St. Mary’s creek in 2023, work is now progressing west. Removal and restoration of lower Thomas Street is planned for spring/summer 2024. Final restoration of the site is expected in 2024 and includes plans for a park-like site.

The Chemetron Lagoon was dewatered, excavated and backfilled in 2023, with CNL contract partners also removing underground tanks and associated pipework.  Restoration is scheduled for 2024. The restoration plans for both Chemetron Lagoon and Lions Park were developed with direction from the property owner of all the industrial sites, the Municipality of Port Hope.

The industrial waste at the former Coal Gasification site on John Street is the result of historical practices that supplied fuel to 18 coal-oil streetlamps on John Street, Walton Street, and Queen Street, and to Port Hope residents who wanted to purchase coal oil for home heaters and light in the early 1900s.  The contamination at the Coal Gasification site will be removed in 2024, with preparatory activities already underway. The work in the area will result in a closure of Alexander Street between Smith and John Streets.

Work on the Centre Pier has been advanced and is expected to be completed concurrently with dredging of the Port Hope Harbour.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories continues to work safely to deliver the completion of these projects on behalf of the federal government.

If you have questions about the history of the industry that resulted in these wastes or would like additional information about the Industrial Sites cleanup or the other major sites in Port Hope, please contact the PHAI office at 905-885-0291 or visit

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