For the Lakeside Leader
Work progresses on the remediation of contaminated land in Faust – a site where a firm called Alberta Osmose Wood Preservers once operated.
Big Lakes County council was updated by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) at its regular meeting on Jan. 24.
“I think by the end of July we can have something we can all be proud of to protect that site and make it safe for people to use,” said Norbert Rafael of AEP. “I think we’re making a lot of progress. We want the site under control.”
During the 1960s, Alberta Osmose treated wood at the site. Several products known to cause cancer were used to treat the wood. It was shut down in 1969 after a fire and explosion, which are believed to have dispersed the contaminants. Subsequent testing indicated that the closer to the actual site, the higher the contamination.
Reeve Ken Matthews said he is happy to see the work on the site being done, after it being ignored for several decades.
“Hopefully we can have something so we can use it,” he said. “It will still be restricted by regulations and will likely be used mostly for something like walking trails.”
Faust councillor Robert Nygaard is also pleased with the progress.
“I’m happy that work is being done because it’s been a concern by the community,” he said.
Remedial work on the site continues under the eye of environmental consultants Millennium EMS Solutions Ltd. Colleen Purtill of that firm told council risky spots will be flagged as they are found and then capped, probably with clay. Some areas of the site could remain prohibited for human use.
Purtill said an exposure plan should be finished by Feb. 28 to allow AEP to hire another contractor to do the remedial work.