After more than 12 years of work on one of the Department of National Defence’s largest environmental projects, activity at CFB Goose Bay reached its peak this summer with the remediation of thousands of cubic metres of contaminated soil.
“This truly was the peak season for remediation work at Goose Bay,” said Annette Murphy, DCC Team Leader, Environmental Services in Halifax.
In part because of the amount of soil that needed remediation and the distance between Goose Bay and any disposal sites, bioremediation was chosen as the most effective way to clean most of the soil to safe levels.
Bioremediation requires that soil be excavated, piled in windrows, aerated, and supplemented with nutrients that break down hydrocarbons contaminating the dirt. These piles are tilled, turned, aerated and supplemented until they can be re-instated at the site. There were three large bioremediation contracts underway this field season, cleaning up approximately 46,000 m3 of soil.
For PCB-impacted soil on another site, a soil washing plant was installed. The plant concentrates PCBs into a small volume of soil so only two to three percent of the soil needs to be shipped away, and the rest can be returned to site.
That wasn’t the end of the list of work at Goose Bay this summer. There was also a large remediation and risk management contract underway that included surface debris removal, submerged debris removal, in-situ containment, capping of contaminated soil, development of an engineered wetland, and more.
“It’s not something that you get a chance to get involved in very often,” said Murphy, referring to the overall Goose Bay Remediation project. The first contract on Goose Bay’s remediation project was awarded in 2005. By the project’s completion in 2020, more than 50 contracts will have been awarded to address 100-plus individual contaminated sites.