For the Lakeside Leader
Plans to remediate contaminated land in Faust will be presented at a public meeting in the coming months. The property in question was formerly operated by Alberta Osmose Wood Preservers Ltd. and has been the subject of considerable local concern.
Big Lakes County council heard at its Oct. 11 meeting that the provincial government has $550,000 for site remediation purposes.
“They want to present plans to council and the community before they start work,” reeve Ken Matthews said at the meeting.
Alberta Environment and Parks is developing something called an ‘exposure control plan’ for the site, county planning and development director Pat Olansky told council.
The contract for the job of implementing the plan will be posted shortly, she said. It actually consists of three separate contracts: aerial mapping via drone, civil engineering for capping the site and the exposure control plan.
Citizens learned at a meeting in July that the best option was to cover the site with dirt and leave it alone.
The contamination came about as a result of chemical treatment of wood from 1961 to 1969, before a fire shut down the operation.
Several chemicals known to cause cancer were used to treat the wood.
At the July meeting, hydrologist Leslie Handy told attendees that some of the chemicals occur naturally in the environment.
Also shared at the meeting was the view that soil samples taken from outside the fenced site were probably contaminated by equipment carrying dirt and dropping it.
Handy said the 1969 fire was the main cause of dispersal of contaminants, thanks to an explosion.
Samples taken indicated higher levels of contamination nearer the site.