News Release

Transport Canada and BC Hydro reach agreement on next stage of Rock Bay clean up

Victoria, British Columbia – Transport Canada and BC Hydro have reached an agreement to complete the next phase (Stage 3) of the Rock Bay Remediation Project in Victoria. This will help restore the bay and foreshore areas as part of ongoing efforts to clean up historical contamination in Rock Bay.
 
BC Hydro will contribute $18.8 million to Transport Canada as its share of the remediation of the federal government's portion of Rock Bay. Transport Canada is currently finalizing the project plans for the harbour sediments in the bay and uplands areas and working towards completing that section of the Rock Bay project by the end of 2016.
 
As the Rock Bay site is currently unoccupied, fenced and secured, there are no health concerns associated with the material located on the Transport Canada property. People who use the waterways are also not exposed to contaminated material, because it is contained within the sediments of the bay. During the upcoming remediation, strict health and safety protocols will be followed to protect workers and the community.
 
To complete the remediation on Federal property, Transport Canada will install a temporary coffer dam in sections of the contaminated area of the bay. This area will be drained to allow the contaminated soils to be excavated. This method will have the least environmental impact while being the most cost efficient.
 
Transport Canada and BC Hydro remain committed to managing the remediation of the Rock Bay site in a responsible, timely and efficient manner.
 
Facts

  • 65,000 tonnes of contaminated sediment will be removed from the bay and the surrounding uplands, approximately 400 truckloads of contaminated material.
  • Two million litres of sea water will be pumped out from behind a temporary coffer dam so that excavations can be done in dry conditions.
  • The temporary coffer dam will span the bay by over 130 meters and up to 15 meters in depth. This dam will be removed upon the completion of the work.
  • This project also includes the installation of over 300 meters of sheet metal walls around the bay in the uplands area that will connect with this coffer dam.

Background

  • Rock Bay is the site of a former coal gasification facility that operated from 1862 to 1949 on property previously owned by Victoria Gas and BC Electric, predecessor companies of BC Hydro.
  • This facility and associated infilling resulted in the contamination of soil, groundwater and sediments with hydrocarbons, metals and other substances on Transport Canada and adjacent properties.
  • Between 2004 and 2006, the majority of the Rock Bay area was jointly remediated by Transport Canada and BC Hydro (Stage 1 and 2). Over 200,000 tonnes of contaminated soil has been removed so far.
  • The soil and sediment at Rock Bay contained coal-tar, hydrocarbons and metals above levels appropriate for commercial and industrial land uses. All of this material is related to the operations and disposal activities of the former coal gasification facility.
  • Earlier this year, the City of Victoria approved BC Hydro’s heritage plan to invest in and protect two heritage buildings on the Rock Bay site while removing a third building in order to allow for remediation around these structures.

For more information, please contact:

Transport Canada, Communications
604.666.1675
www.tc.gc.ca 

BC Hydro Media Relations
604.928.6468
www.bchydro.com/media