Public Disclosures

The following information is provided in accordance with the ongoing commitment by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to voluntarily disclose events to the public related to the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI).


2021

Port Granby, June 3, 2021

Two positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified at CNL’s Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant. The situation has been classified as a workplace outbreak by local health officials in Durham Region.

Staff involved were based only in the plant and their work did not require interaction with the local communities. 

Contact tracing has been completed. The worksite has been deep cleaned and sanitized, and CNL is maintaining the plant in a safe state. CNL will continue to work closely with local public health authorities and follow their guidance. 

Since the pandemic began, all PHAI activities have been performed in keeping with strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep staff and the public safe. These protocols include daily screening of field staff, wearing of facing coverings while working on CNL sites, maintaining physical distancing, strictly controlling the number of people working on sites or at CNL offices, and having staff work remotely wherever possible. 

CNL is providing the necessary support to ensure our employees have the resources they need. We wish staff who are ill a speedy and full recovery.


Port Hope, March 4, 2021

The Port Hope Harbour, Centre Pier and adjacent properties contain historic low-level radioactive waste and industrial waste. Water runoff from the pier and surrounding areas has been impacting water quality in the harbour for decades.

In 2018, CNL began work on the Centre Pier to prepare for the cleanup of the waste, which will greatly enhance the water quality in the harbour. 

As part of PHAI water management at the site, stormwater is collected and sampled. If the sample results meet the Provincial Water Quality Objectives, the water is released to the harbour. Stormwater that does not meet these objectives is diverted for treatment prior to release.  

On March 1, 2021, CNL became aware that stormwater with slight exceedances of the Provincial Water Quality Objectives had been released from the Port Hope Centre Pier to the inner harbour in November 2020 and January 2021. The water should have been diverted for treatment prior to release.

Approximately 15 to 18 cubic metres of stormwater – about the volume of water in five to six garden ponds – were released in November 2020, and 30 to 40 cubic metres of stormwater – about 10 to 13 ponds – were released in January 2021. No stormwater was released from the site to the harbour in December 2020. 

At no time did the release of the stormwater pose a health or safety risk to workers or the public. The effect on the environment is considered negligible. An investigation of these events is underway to determine corrective actions and prevent a recurrence. No stormwater will be released during the investigation. 

CNL notified the Spills Action Centre and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission of these events.


Port Granby, February 5, 2021 

This is a follow up to the January 27, 2020 event, which was the subject of a public disclosure, available further down this page.

As a result of its investigation into an unplanned release of surface water from the Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility on January 27, 2020, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a warning to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) on February 2, 2021. 

The warning serves as a reminder to CNL of the importance of implementing corrective actions, all of which were put in place to the satisfaction of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the project’s regulator, in 2020. 

CNL has since completed the removal of historic low-level radioactive waste from the legacy site, which also greatly reduces the likelihood of a similar event. More than 1.3 million tonnes of historic low-level radioactive waste was excavated from the legacy site on the shoreline of Lake Ontario and relocated to the new Port Granby Long-Term Waste Management Facility, providing enhanced protection of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem.


2020

Port Granby, November 25, 2020 

On 2020 November 23, the independent laboratory that analyzes water discharge samples from the Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant notified CNL of an exceedance of an allowable level set to prevent harm to fish. All other discharge parameters were within allowable limits. On receipt of this information, CNL immediately stopped discharging treated water to Lake Ontario. 

Further samples have been sent to the laboratory for analysis, and CNL will not resume discharging water to the lake until results confirm that the treated water is within all allowable limits.

This event does not pose a risk to human health or the safety of people, and the initial analysis results indicate the impact on the environment to be negligible. CNL routinely tests the treated discharge water from the Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant, and years of sampling data shows that the treated water has been within allowable limits prior to this result. 

Ongoing testing continues to show that the plant’s advanced treatment technology meets or exceeds stringent Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission requirements for water discharged to Lake Ontario, resulting in enhanced protection of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem.

CNL notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Clarington. 


Port Granby, July 29, 2020

At approximately 5:00 p.m. on 2020 July 25, during a routine site inspection, a plant operator observed water leaking from a water holding tank at the Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant. Upon discovery of the leak, the plant was shut down and actions were taken to drain the tank and stop the leak. It is estimated that 20-50 m3 of water leaked from the tank and entered the storm water management pond located on the site. The leak was confined to the boundary of the licensed site.

Water and soil samples were collected at various locations along the flow pathway, and sent for analysis.

At no time was there a health or safety risk to workers or the public, and the impact on the environment is expected to be negligible.

CNL proactively notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Clarington of this event.


Port Granby, January 28, 2020 

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on 2020 January 27, site personnel discovered surface water leaving catchment areas at the Port Granby Legacy Waste Management Facility.

On discovery of the water flow, CNL’s contractor immediately took actions to stop the flow. 

Water samples were taken at along the flow path and the site perimeter, and have been sent to an independent laboratory for analysis. The results are expected to show that the effect on the environment was negligible. The removal of historic low-level radioactive waste from the site, which began in 2016, is nearly complete. Most of the land in the path of the overflow had already been remediated. 

At no time was there a health or safety risk to workers or the public. 

CNL proactively notified the Spills Action Centre, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Municipality of Clarington. 


January 9, 2019