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Wastes Removed from Sites in Surrey

Natural Resources Canada
2000/21
March 23, 2000


Ottawa - Today, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), announced the successful completion of the clean-up and removal of contaminated soil and slag from two industrial properties in Surrey, British Columbia.

"This initiative resolves a longstanding environmental concern in Surrey," said Minister Goodale. "Its success is owed in large part to the active involvement of the public in finding promising solutions."

Left over from a 1970s smelting operation, the waste was removed by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO), the federal agent responsible for cleaning up sites contaminated with such wastes. About 5,000 cubic metres of thorium-contaminated soil and slag was removed from 7800 Anvil Way in Surrey for disposal at the Columbia Ridge Landfill and Recycling Center in Oregon, United States. In addition, a small quantity of low-level radioactive slag, which had been stored at the Thornton Yard site in Surrey, was shipped to the LLRWMO's licensed storage facilities at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario.

The Surrey Siting Task Force, an independent group established by the Minister of NRCan, was tasked with finding a disposal solution for the contaminated soil and slag. The excavation and removal of the contaminated soil and slag began in late 1999, after extensive public consultations and an environmental assessment by Natural Resources Canada.

"The project clearly demonstrates the federal government's commitment to a public participation process," said Dr. David A. Boyes, the Task Force's Chairman. "We are grateful that it has been completed without adverse impacts to public health and safety."

"Now that the contamination has been removed from both sites, radiation levels are typical of those found in the region and pose no health risk," said Mr. David Morley of the BC Ministry of Health.

The project required the cooperation and approvals of governments at all levels, including the B.C. Ministry of Health, the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands, and Parks, as well as the regulatory authorities in both Canada and the U.S.

This is an example of the Government of Canada's commitment, reinforced in the 1999 Speech from the Throne, to improving the quality of the environment, in particular, cleaning up contaminated sites.




For information, media may contact:
Pat Breton
Press Secretary
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 996-2007



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