Update: May 28, 2019
Despite the wet weather, Birch Hill Construction has been working away on Phase II of our Lorne Street Stormwater Mitigation Project. We’ve made considerable progress since our last post on April 30, so here’s what’s taken place over the past few weeks.
As we noted back in early April, we encountered some contaminated soil on the former CN property. This material needs to be disposed of at a facility that is approved by the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government. The closest facility to us is Envirem Organics Inc., in Memramcook. On May 17, the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) gave us the ok to start trucking material on the Memramcook East Road, which provides an access into the Memramcook facility. This was extremely positive news. Since then, the contractor has been working Monday to Friday to excavate the contaminated soil and then trucking it to the Memramcook facility. We’d like to thank DTI for their cooperation.
Finding the exact extent of the contaminated soil isn’t an exact science unfortunately. As the contractor excavates the soil, the contamination is at varying depths – picture a heart monitor line – with lots of ups and downs along the way. As you can appreciate, the equipment operators are doing their best to separate the contaminated soil from clean soil, but as the bucket cuts through the earth, some material falls out over the sides. This means that another bucket of soil must go to the disposal facility too – most of which is clean soil. We’ve also encountered some heavy objects, like concrete and wood, that are mixed in with the contaminated soil, so it too must be sent to the disposal facility. This added weight, along with the wet soil, as increased the tonnage of material needed for disposal. The contractor is also tracking a plume of contamination that appears to have followed an old pipe on the site, so overall, we know there will be more tonnage leaving the site to the approved disposal facility than we originally planned – and importantly, more than Council authorized. We do know that the contamination is limited to the identified area though, because we didn’t encounter any contaminated soil when we completed Phase I around the boundary of the site.
After being notified of the increased tonnage late last week, Council held a special meeting on Monday, May 27 at noon, and authorized the additional disposal costs. The noon meeting also allowed the contractor to continue working in the afternoon. While the disposal costs are higher – in the $125,000 range – the trucking fees are still within budget because the weight restrictions are off the roads. This has allowed us to send full loads to the disposal facility, which has resulted in a better trucking rate from the contractor.
Our consulting team continues to have an environmental professional onsite to supervise and monitor the excavation of the contaminated soil. As we noted in April 75% of the contaminated land cost will be covered under our existing Clean Water and Wastewater Fund Program. We strongly believe that removing the contaminated soil is the right thing to do considering that we have the funds to deal with it, and the result will be one less contaminated property in our community.
We want to remind residents that not all the soil is contaminated. Therefore, when the contractor, under the supervision of our consultants – determine that the soil is clean, it is being trucked to an approved location as determined by the Southeast Regional Service Commission. The contractor has secured several approvals for this material.
So, it’s not all bad news! Our consulting engineers that are managing the project are also keeping a close eye on the overall project budget. While we’re up in some areas, we’re expecting to be down in others. The CN culvert crossing for example, went incredibly well. We were estimating five days for this work, but the contractor had it completed in three! This was very positive. Our consultants worked side by side with CN for this scope of work, and we’re required to monitor the site for several weeks after the work is completed to ensure the soils and site conditions haven’t changed. Now that the culvert is in place, the contractor will finish the work needed on the southwest side of Crescent Street. After that, the road will need to be resurfaced where it was excavated, which will be completed later in the spring.
What can you expect over the next few weeks? The rest of the contaminated soil will be removed, the remaining ditches connecting the retaining pond to the CN crossing will be finished, and once the rest of the contaminated soil and remaining clean soil is removed, the pond will be connected to the outlet control structure. The contractor will also be finishing the access road along the south side of St. James Street and filling the ditch behind Atlantic Towing. While the ditch will get filled in, the water will be diverted to the pond via the culverts under St. James Street (near Lorne Street) and the boundary of the pond will be extended. Aside from that, it’s just the finishing touches left to do! All of this should take approximately three weeks – weather depending – so we’re now officially on the home stretch!
We want to continue to remind residents that this is a short-term solution, but it allows us to make significant improvements with the funding that is available. The long-term stormwater management plan remains unchanged, which will eventually see stormwater redirected to a new lower aboiteau at the Tantramar River (near our Engineering and Public Works facility) via a new large drainage ditch. This work will only be possible with future funding. Until the long-term goal is achieved, this area of our community will still be vulnerable to flooding.
Like all major civil engineering projects of this nature, it comes with its ups and downs, but we’re almost finished and still within our overall project funding through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
As we’ve noted in every post so far, we want to sincerely thank our residents and business community who have supported this project from the start. This is a big undertaking, and it’s a complex project, but it will be a great new asset to our community when it’s completed. We’re already seeing lots of ducks in the pond!
Stay tuned for future updates as work continues.
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Jamie Burke, Senior Manager of Corporate Projects, at 364-4930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.