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Contaminated soil found in Ormstown development waits for disposal

Ormstown has issued a call for tenders to dispose of contaminated soil discovered last fall in the Vallée-des-Outardes housing development.

An engineering firm carrying out surveying work last fall discovered the contaminated land in a section of the housing development that was scheduled for asphalting. To avoid delaying the construction work, the municipality opted to remove the contaminated soil, which is temporarily being stored on municipal land behind the police station on rue Saint-Paul. “It is covered and on a protected surface until it can be trucked away for proper disposal,” says Ormstown’s mayor, Christine McAleer.

One section of the soil was characterized as “A-B,” or slightly contaminated, while another section was found to contain soil classified as “B-C.” The Centre technologique des résidusindustriels describes the contamination level of A-B soil as being at the acceptable level for residential, recreational, or institutional soil use, while B-C soil is contaminated and must be remediated for residential and institutional land uses, or for sensitive recreational uses such as playgrounds or daycares. Only A-grade soil, which is free of contaminants that do not occur naturally in the environment, can be used on agricultural land.

 

Mounds of contaminated soil sit behind the police station on Rue Saint Paul in Ormstown The soil which was removed from a section of the Vallée des Outardes housing development will be disposed of by the end of April PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

The discovery of the contaminated soil at the work site in the housing development has brought up some discomforting questions at the municipality regarding soil quality. The mayor points out that while the engineering firm discovered the problematic soil, they are not responsible for determining where it comes from. “Did they test the soil before they began building?” questions the mayor. She says the municipality will now have to pull the housing development contracts which were approved by the previous administration out of storage, to discern whether the contaminated soil was always there or whether it was brought in during construction, orcontaminated during the building process.

In the meantime, McAleer says all of the contaminated soil will be going to the same place for disposal. The town will pay the costs associated with the removal, and a call for tenders has already been issued, as the soil must be removed by the end of April. “There are a lot of specifications for these tenders,” says the mayor, noting the municipality does not want to see the contaminated soil contribute to the dumping issues already plaguing rural municipalities.

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