Posted on April 20, 2017
By Tyler Kula, The Observer
The cost of dredging Sarnia Harbour and relocating “slightly contaminated” sediment to the airport has jumped by a quarter-million dollars.
The total project cost now stands near $3.2 million after $254,000 was recently added to the contracted price for Quebec-based Ocean Dredging DM Inc.
The work wrapped up in January.
Economic Development Director Peter Hungerford said in February there would be additional costs for disposal, and managing water runoff from the trucked over soil.
His April report to council notes a “modest tipping fee” and an extra 1,800 cubic metres of scooped sediment have also contributed to driving up costs.
All of it is being covered via a harbour reserve that now stands at just shy of $3.5-million, after tabulating the latest expenses.
“It’s an extra project expenditure we had to come up with,” said Coun. Anne Marie Gillis.
She and several citizens, she said, had concerns during the project that Airport Service Road was getting difficult to traverse because of the muck.
“I’m sure that that’s been taken care of now,” she said.
Extra precautionary work was also done, Hungerford’s report says, while it was being determined soil contamination – metals, volatile organic compounds, petroleum hydrocarbons and other compounds – didn’t exceed provincial environmental standards.
The work, while costly, was done so fully loaded ships can once again enter the harbour.
Dredging typically happens every eight to 10 years and Hungerford has said the city plans to measure the harbour annually to determine how quickly sediment moves back in and how soon dredging will be needed again.
Sarnia took ownership of the harbour after the federal government divested it three years ago.
The city, meanwhile, is seeking provincial consent to allow water to drain over adjacent fields from the sediment site at the airport, as opposed to having Ocean Dredging continue to hold, test, then pump the water into the sanitary sewer for treatment, Hungerford’s report says.
Beyond that, all that’s left is grading, top soiling and seeding, it says, something that’s expected to happen late spring or early summer, after the sediment has sufficiently drained.