Contaminated soil, radioactive waste puts groundwater in jeopardy
Posted: May 8, 2012 4:41 PM ET
Last Updated: May 8, 2012 5:24 PM ETCanada's Environmental commissioner's 2012 report identifies four sites as having the highest reported financial liabilities - although the report does not disclose the financial details, which are "protected information."
1. Port Hope Area Contaminated Sites, Ont.
Natural Resources Canada responsible for remediation of about 1,380,000 cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste, including radium 226, uranium and arsenic. The project is funded through the Port Hope Area Initiative.
2. Welcome Waste Management Facility, Port Hope, Ont.
Natural Resources also responsible for an estimated 620,000 cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste at this above-ground facility and operation of treatment ponds and effluent discharge. Funded through the Port Hope Area Initiative.
3. Faro Mine, Yukon
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is responsible for this former mine, whose owner went bankrupt. Estimated 64,000 hectares of contaminated soil and groundwater, leaching of acids and metals into groundwater and surface water. Requires at least 100 years of treatment of contaminated water and potential physical instability of tailings dams and waste rock dumps. Contaminents include petroleum hydrocarbons, metal, metalloid and organometallics.
Another bankrupt mine site managed by AANDC, with 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide dust stored in 15 underground chambers; 16,000,000 tonnes of tailings, which is also arsenic rich; three large tailings ponds that require water treatment and discharge; and eight open pits, with 35 mine openings. Requires more than 100 years freezing of arsenic trioxide and contaminated soil to prevent release; treating and discharging water from tailings ponds; and covering tailings and open pits.