The remediation of Reay Creek is set to begin this month after Alberta’s Tervita Corp. won the contract to clean-up the Class 1 contamination site.
The creek was first officially registered as contaminated in 2015, during an inspection that indicated high levels of metals, including cadmium, zinc, chromium and lead. It was later given a Class 1 contamination rating and a process was set in motion to conclude with its remediation.
Monday, the Government of Canada awarded Tervita Corp. a $504,000 contract to restore the environmental health of Reay Creek’s bed by removing concentrations of metals in the creek’s muddy sediment. Work will begin this month on a portion of the creek on land owned by Transport Canada and is expected to finish in October. The clean-up involves diverting the creek, excavating contaminated sediment, and transporting the sediment to an approved facility for disposal.
The creek bed is partly on Victoria International Airport land and came to be polluted due to decades of run-off and contamination from heavy industry operating nearby. The part of the creek on airport land will now be backfilled with clean material.
Environmental monitoring will be conducted throughout the project to ensure that the terms of the contract are adhered to and to ensure the safety of the local community and environment.
Fish health has been damaged by the pollution and the high concentrations of metals, that don’t break down, threaten the creek’s ecosystem and food web.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said protecting fish and fish habitats is a top priority for the government.
“This new project will remove approximately 900 tonnes of contaminated sediments from portions of Reay Creek located on airport lands. That’s roughly equivalent to the weight of 550 cars. This will go a long way to restore the health of Reay Creek and protect trout and wild Pacific salmon that use this creek as a migration pathway.”
The Reay Creek Remediation Project is funded through Canada’s Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, which earmarks funding for the assessment and remediation of federal contaminated sites.