Clean-up plan for osmose site progresses

Richard Froese
For the Lakeside Leader

Work progresses to remediate contaminated land in Faust previously operated by the Alberta Osmose Wood Preservers Ltd.

Plans were presented by Alberta Environment and Parks at an open house April 26 in Faust.

“It’s all good,” said Big Lakes County Councillor Robert Nygaard, who represents Faust.

“Alberta Environment is working hard to get it all cleaned up so it’s safe for public use.”

Site work is expected to start next year, said Jamie Hanlon, AEP communications advisor.

“We hope to get a tender by the end of the year,” Hanlon said.

Only the contractor will know the time expected to clean the site, he noted.

Identified sites will be capped as the main way to protect land.

Contamination has not affected water, including Lesser Slave Lake, said one AEP official.

“No contamination has been found on the downgrade towards the lake and away from site contamination,” said hydrogeologist Rafael Jerez.

AEP plans to periodically monitor groundwater and integrity of the soil cap.

Residents expressed optimism, with some concerns.

“I have to go with the scientists,” Wally Garrick said.

“If they say this work will allow the property to be contained and safe, and make it into public space, I’m in full favour of it.”

Many also want to be confident of good drinking water.

“For peace of mind, even though I was assured chemicals from the site have not impacted the lake, I would still like to have our water source tested,” Garrick said.

He and Wendy Freeman shared that issue as a delegation at county council meeting April 25.

“We want to know if our drinking water is safe and it will ease lot of peoples’ minds,” Freeman said as she briefly addressed council.

Reeve Ken Matthews said administration will research their concern and respond to the residents.

“I want to be assured of good drinking water,” Freeman said as she reviewed the plan at the open house.

She noted that other similar contamination sites in Alberta have experienced capping that leaks and doesn’t want a repeat in Faust.

“If it has happened in the past, who’s to say it won’t happen in the future?” Freeman said.

“Why don’t they just clean it up?”

A variety of combinations of clay, topsoil, and seed will be used to control exposed areas, based on the concentrations of the contaminants of concerns.

Areas of highest concentration will be fenced off.

Trails will be directed away from the source zone.

A report on the Environmental Site Assessment Repository is accessible online at

Plans to remediate the site of the former osmose site in Faust are presented at an information session April 26. Left-right Alberta Environment and Parks soils and contamination sites specialist Vaishalie Anand, left-right discussion capping sites with local resident Wally Garrick and Wendy Freeman.

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