The biggest single contract associated with the cleanup of the Sydney tar ponds has gone to a Cape Breton company in partnership with an American firm, in what was described as a defining moment for the project.
The $52-million contract to solidify and stabilize the north and south ponds was awarded to Nordly’s Environmental, a Cape Breton company owned by J&T van Zutphen Construction Inc. of Southwest Mabou, and ECC of Marlborough, Mass.
Federal Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and provincial MLA Gordie Gosse, on behalf of Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Bill Estabrooks, made the announcement at the site’s materials processing facility Friday morning.
“Simply put, this is the heart and soul of this project, or as someone said to me on the way in, this is the guts of it,” MacKay said.
About 40 construction jobs will be created over the five-year life of the contract and it will provide local labourers with remediation skills and experience.
“It’s a $10-million job for five years in a row, so it’s not too often you get those in Cape Breton,” John van Zutphen said.
Tar ponds sediments will be solidified and contaminants, including PCBs, will be stabilized. Larger items found in the ponds will be removed and taken to the materials processing facility.
Cement will be mixed into contaminated material, immobilizing hazardous contaminants. Cement reacts with water in the material to change physical and chemical properties and prevent contaminants from escaping into the environment.
The site will then be capped and a layer of clean soil will be placed atop it.