|Five Island Lake Remediation|
A set of pages on the website of the N.S. Dept. of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal dealing with the PCB contamination at Five Island Lake (http://www.gov.ns.ca/tran/enviroservices/enviro5islandlake.asp) was removed in 2010. These pages included access to 14 newsletters updating the public on the remediation process and state of the affected waters. Presumably, these newsletters could still be obtained by request to the Dept. of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
An extract from a WRWEO newsletter which provides an overview of the history of this issue is given below as well as the contents of several government documents (mostly press releases) about this issue that are still available on NS Government website. See also the Jacques Whitford/Stantec Reports.
Success at Five Island Lake Watershed
Department of Transportation and Public Works
January 22, 2002 1:41 PM
The province has completed the final phase in a three-year
project to remove sediment contaminated with polychlorinated
biphenyl (PCB) from the North Bay of Five Island Lake, west of
Halifax. The dredging removed more than 98.5 per cent of the PCBs
from the bay.
As a result, and based on recommendations from Nova Scotia's
Medical Officer of Health, boaters and swimmers will be able to
use the North Bay of Five Island Lake next summer.
Dr. Robert Strang of the Department of Health said the results of
comprehensive fish sampling last year mean two advisories against
use can be lifted.
-- The advisory against eating fish caught in nine local lakes
can be withdrawn. It remains in effect for Five Island Lake,
which will require further monitoring for several years. However,
fish caught in these lakes must be released immediately, because
of low stocks.
-- The advisory against boating and swimming in North Bay of Five
Island Lake is also lifted.
The province has worked closely with the Five Island Lake
Community Liaison Committee since 1994, after it was discovered
that high concentrations of PCBs were present in four fish
species -- trout, bass, minnows and suckers.
"It's great news, and shows what can be accomplished when the
community and government set aside their differences and work
together," said John Hoyt, co-chair of the Community Liaison
Committee. "I'm proud of the commitment and dedication of
residents who worked long and hard to reach this milestone."
"The dredging came in on time and on budget," said Ron Russell,
Minister of Transportation and Public Works. "A project of this
scope takes time and effort. I thank area residents and the
committee for their patience and for working with government to
manage this situation. I look forward to working with them as we
continue this cleanup."
Since the dredging began in 1999, contractors have removed 6,850
tonnes of contaminated sediment. The more highly contaminated
material was destroyed and the less-contaminated material was
disposed of at approved landfills. The entire project was
carefully managed under environmental regulations and strict
operating permits from the Department of Environment and Labour.
Dexter Construction was the prime contractor on this recent phase
of the cleanup, with help from two sub-contractors: Safety Kleen
and Matrix Environment. The Transportation and Public Works 2001-
02 budget for the dredging and related work was $1.9 million.
When fish were sampled in 1994 the highest PCB concentration in
fish muscle was 68 parts per million (ppm). By comparison, when
more than 100 fish were collected and analyzed for PCBs in 2001,
all fish were found to have less than 4.5 ppm in muscle. Three
fish exceeded Health Canada's guideline number of 2.0 ppm and
these were caught in Five Island Lake. Overall, tests show that
PCB levels within various fish species have dropped by between 87
and 99 per cent compared to 1994 values.
In order to rebuild fish stocks, the Department of Agriculture
and Fisheries has designated the Woodens River Watershed as part
of a special management area. So, while the health advisories
have been removed for most of the area, a catch-and-release
program will still apply to these lakes for some time to come.
The salvage-yard site has been fenced, graded and capped in order
to contain the remaining contamination.
Five Island Lake Cleanup Advances
Department of Transportation and Public Works (to Oct. 23 2007)
May 30, 2000 2:30 PM
The final phase of the environmental cleanup of the north bay at
Five Island Lake, Halifax County, is about to start. The
Department of Transportation and Public Works has put out a
tender for the second phase of dredging the PCB-contaminated
sediment in the north bay.
John Hoyt, chairman of the Five Island Lake Community Liaison
Committee said the dream of enjoying the entire lake again is
finally within sight.
"The people in this community are proud of what we've done with
the government these past six years," said Mr. Hoyt. "Removing
the PCBs from the north bay will be an enormous step in
protecting this beautiful watershed from further damage. And it
proves that community groups and government can work together."
The tender closes June 15. Work should begin in July and be
completed in the fall. The provincial government committed the
necessary funding in this year's budget to complete the dredging
and disposal work.
"The community in general and the community liaison committee in
particular, have been wonderfully supportive and constructive
every step of the way," said Ron Russell, Minister of
Transportation and Public Works. "And now we are close to
achieving our goal of reclaiming the entire lake for the people
and for the environment."
The first phase of dredging was finished in early April. So far,
58 trailer loads of contaminated sediments have been sent to
Quebec for disposal.
The PCB contamination is the sad legacy of what is now recognized
as poor disposal practises in the1960s and 1970s.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
The final stage of the cleanup of the north bay at Five
Island Lake is about to begin.
The province has put out a tender for the second phase of
dredging the PCB-contaminated sediment in the Halifax County
The PCB's were left behind in the '60s and '70s.
Community spokesman John Hoyt says people are proud of the
way the cleanup effort has gone - and excited about the prospect
of using the entire lake again.
Transportation and Public Works Minister Ron Russell says
it's a big step forward for the community and for the
The dredging work should start in the north bay in July and
be completed in the fall.
News Release Archive(1996)
TRANSPORTATION/PUBLIC WORKS--FIVE ISLAND LAKE REMEDIATION ----------------------------------------------------------------- Transportation and Public Works Minister Don Downe said today that the province is prepared to act on a report by a citizens liaison committee, called "A Strategy To Clean Up PCB Contaminated Sediments in Five Island Lake." "I'm very encouraged by the cooperation among the liaison committee, the residents of the Five Island Lake area and the people in government departments who have worked hard for the last two years to put forward this remediation strategy," said Mr. Downe. "All recommendations in the report will be considered on their merits before final decisions on clean-up can be made." The minister said a control weir would be built to help block off the contaminated North Bay from flowing into Five Island Lake. It's a step that should be taken no matter what remediation option is ultimately chosen, Mr. Downe said. The minister also said he supports providing temporary water access to Five Island Lake for the residents of North Bay. The Five Island Lake Citizens Liaison Committee was formed two years ago to plan a clean-up strategy for PCB oils that had been released into the residential community through improper disposal practices at a local salvage yard. Following some 28 meetings, held over a two year period, the community has been informed of the committee's progress and plans through public meetings, newsletters, and smaller group discussions. "This community is dealing with a difficult environmental problem in a very practical and sensible way. I commend their efforts and look forward to working with them in the future," said Mr. Downe. "This has been a model of how public consultation works." Various remediation efforts have taken place including the containment of a contaminated salvage yard. This particular remediation plan, submitted to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works and Environment Minister Wayne Adams, looks at a strategy to clean up PCB contaminated sediments in the North Bay of Five Island Lake. Mr. Adams was enthusiastic about continuing to involve the community as the process goes forward. "The community has taken a strong leadership role in this process and we have to make sure their voices are heard," he said. -30- Contact: Public Affairs and Communications 902-424-8687 John Hoyt 902-876-2722 trp Dec. 19, 1996 - 8:40 a.m.