At the former DEW Line site at Sarcpa Lake the main work involved the excavation of a landfill. In addition a complete assessment of the site was carried out, all asbestos was containerised, and an engineering design, drawings, specifications and cost estimates were produced in association with UMA Engineering.
The excavation of the landfill was undertaken because PCBs were found to be leaching from it. This was, to our knowledge, the first time a dump has been excavated from permafrost and this posed several problems. One major one was that the site was difficult to access and no heavy machinery was available. A small Kubota loader was taken to the site overland on a winter road but could not be used for excavation because of the steep terrain and wet muddy conditions that prevail when permafrost is uncovered. The loader was however, extremely useful in moving containers of contaminated soil and also water for the camp. Excavation and sorting of the dump was undertaken by hand. The delineation procedure undertaken at this site was to grid the area (3m by 3m) and analyse each quadrant as material was removed.
When permafrost was reached, time was required for the ice to melt and so the project required two seasons; work is only possible during July and August. PCB Immunoassay test kits and a portable XRF unit were used on site for analysis with confirmation of samples back at the Queen's ASU laboratory.