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Natural Resources Canada 2000/21 (a)

March 23, 2000
BACKGROUNDER
WASTES REMOVED FROM TWO INDUSTRIAL SITES IN SURREY, B.C.

ANVIL WAY SITE

The Wastes
Some 5,000 cubic metres of thorium-contaminated soil and slag have been removed from 7800 Anvil Way in Surrey. The slag resulted from a niobium smelting process that took place in the 1970s at the Anvil Way site using ore imported from South America. Some of the slag, which was mildly radioactive, was mixed with sand and gravel and used as fill on the site. Most of this soil was excavated and placed in a storage bunker on-site in 1985.

The removal of the waste from the site began in late 1999. This followed several years of detailed technical investigations, consideration of various disposal alternatives, and a public participation process conducted by the Surrey Siting Task Force, an independent group established by the Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO) is the federal agent that carried out the clean-up and removal of the waste.

The waste was transported to the Columbia Ridge Landfill and Recycling Center in Oregon, United States, for disposal at the licensed waste facility operated by Oregon Waste Systems Inc. A total of 350 truckloads of waste were shipped to the Oregon facility in securely covered trucks suitable for highway transport. The clean-up and removal of the waste from the Anvil Way site was completed in March 2000.

Environmental Impacts
Environmental screening by NRCan concluded that the potential environmental impacts related to excavation, consolidation, transportation, and disposal activities were not significant, or were mitigable with known technology. As expected, the clean-up and waste removal project has had overall positive environmental and social impacts.

Measures were taken to prevent and control dust on the site and prevent contamination of surface water and runoff. Workers were under the supervision of health and safety specialists and used appropriate protective equipment when needed.

Waste removal operations contributed to some increase in vehicle traffic and industrial noise levels in the immediate area, but the increase in these levels was minimal. Regulatory requirements were met to ensure that transportation of the material posed minimal risk to people and the environment.

Restoration of the Site
Following the dismantling of the storage bunker and the clean-up and the removal of the waste, gamma radiation readings and soil samples were taken to ensure that all waste had been taken away. Excavated areas were backfilled with clean material and the site graded. With the removal of the waste, radiation levels at the site are typical of those found in the region and pose no health risk.

THORNTON YARD SITE

The Wastes
About 70 cubic metres of low-level radioactive slag from the Anvil Way site that had been stored in barrels in a secure bunker facility at CN Rail's Thornton Yard site in Surrey were removed by early December 1999. CN conditioned and packaged the slag in canisters and shipped it in containers to the LLRWMO's licensed storage facilities at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario.

Restoration of the Site
Following the removal of the slag from the Thornton Yard site, gamma radiation readings were taken to ensure that all waste material had been taken away. With the removal of the waste, radiation levels at the site are typical of those found in the region and pose no health risk.

 

Sequence of Events
1972 Niobium ore from South America was brought to the Anvil Way site under Canada Customs and Atomic Energy Control Board permit.
1972/74 Ore smelted by Fundy Chemicals at Anvil Way site subsequently resulted in the production of thorium-contaminated slag. Some of the slag, which was mildly radioactive, was mixed with sand and gravel and used as fill on the site.
1984 - Federal government accepted responsibility for the contaminated slag and soil.
- Canada-BC Memorandum of Understanding to establish responsibilities for the waste.
1985 Initial clean-up of the waste undertaken at Anvil Way; storage bunker for the waste built by LLRWMO.
1986/87 Storage bunker for slag waste at Thornton Yard built by Canadian National.
1989 Surrey Siting Task Force (SSTF) appointed by Minister of NRCan to find a disposal solution for Anvil Way and Thornton Yard wastes.
1998 SSTF recommended to NRCan Minister that Anvil Way waste be disposed of in Oregon, U.S., and that Thornton Yard waste be transferred to LLRWMO licensed storage facilities in Chalk River, Ontario.
1999 Environmental screening of options for the waste completed by NRCan; Minister of NRCan agreed that waste should be removed from both sites; LLRWMO began waste removal activities at Anvil Way in November; and CN completed the removal of the slag from the Thornton Yard site by early December.
2000 LLRWMO completed clean-up and removal of waste from Anvil Way in March.

For information, media may contact:

Manager of Communications and Community Relations
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office
(613) 998-9488

NRCan Home Page | List of News Releases 2000 | Version française

Notice: The previous text was downloaded from NRCan's web site for the media. Click on the following link to the actual NRCan web page: 2000/21(a) - March 23, 2000.



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