PHAI accomplishments in spite of difficult year

PH_WWEAfter a challenging year that saw work stoppages and scheduling impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 comes to a close with CNL highlighting accomplishments for PHAI activities.

In the quarterly update to the Municipality of Port Hope Council on December 1, Scott Parnell, General Manager at CNL’s Port Hope office indicated that there were a number of project successes this past year. 

“This has been a tough year but we still had a number of positive things happen that we want to share,” said Parnell in his opening remarks. 

Highlighting work at the major sites, Parnell started with the Port Hope Long-Term Waste Management Facility where the construction of Cell 2b is well underway. The cell, expected to be ready to start accepting waste by 2021, is the largest at the mound. To date the facility has placed over a million tonnes of waste into long-term storage. Parnell also indicated the Waste Water Treatment Plant at the facility continued to operate during the shutdown.

At the Port Hope Harbour and Centre Pier, the portable water treatment system is being commissioned as the site is prepared for dredging operations to resume in early 2021.

Parnell announced that the cleanup at the Waterworks East site (near the West Beach) is completed and shared photos of the process at various stages along the way, ending with the site that has been hydro seeded. The contractor has now started excavation at the Mill Street site and lessons learned, particularly around water management, are being implemented at this location. The work at the Strachan Street Ravine is expected to start in January following the award of that contract.

Testing for low-level radioactive waste and sampling was completed at three industrial sites – the former Coal Gasification Plant, Lions Park and Chemetron Lagoon.

Work is also underway at the Pine Street North Extension Consolidated Site in the Highland Drive area, including tree clearing and internal road construction. The remediation of the site and transportation of waste to long-term storage is expected to begin this winter.

Moving to the Small-Scale Sites, which includes privately owned properties and road allowances, Parnell provided a status update. Of the 4,800 properties tested, about 1,100 require additional work and 934 of those have been identified as having waste. There are 325 properties in the design phase with 159 designs completed. For cleanups, 44 have been completed and 14 underway with another 40 planned for next year.

In addition, Parnell provided an update on the public engagement process for the proposed changes to the PHAI Cleanup Criteria. “We’ve had very good engagement and we’re getting some good feedback from the public,” said Parnell. Following the submission of the report to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), a hearing is expected in 2021. “There will be opportunities for the public to submit interventions to the CNSC,” added Parnell.

He also provided a few of the recurrent themes such as health questions, possible impacts on properties such as financing and mortgages and concerns about the loss of trees.

“The key thing we are hearing is that most everyone wants the cleanup to proceed but wants to minimize the impact to both the community and their individual properties,” said Parnell.

In closing, Parnell shared the success story at Port Granby with the completion of the cleanup of the former waste management facility, with the waste placed into long-term storage. The site has been restored and the capping and closing of the mound is underway with one cell already capped.

In response to questions asked about the progress of the cleanup at residences, Parnell acknowledged there have been delays but indicated that CNL is in constant communication with residents and work is expected to ramp about to over 120 properties in 2022 and with 200 targeted per year.

Mayor Sanderson thanked CNL for the update and stressed that sometimes it is easy to miss the progress that has been made and highlighted the waterfront as an area in which much work had been done.

Residents are reminded to connect via info@phia.ca or 905.885.0291 if they have any questions and or concerns about PHAI work.