Mid Canada Line (MCL) Project

The ASU, in collaboration with WESA Inc, were successful in tendering a bid for the 'Mid Canada Line (MCL)' cleanup project located at Site 500, Winisk, Hudson Bay (ONT). The project involves the cleanup and remediation of thousands of barrels, PCB and TPH contaminated soils and waters, paints, concrete and debris.

The Lab Trailer is equipped with two gas chromatograph analyzers with electron capture detectors (ECD) and flame ionization detectors (FID). The trailer has a fumehood, oven, shaker table, rotory evaporation unit (with pump and temperature unit), sonic bath, emergency shower and a full office area for compilation and transmission of results.

Winisk mobile laboratory trailer exterior

Queens University Analytical Services Unit, mobile laboratory trailer (above and below).

Winisk mobile laboratory trailer interior

Up to 30 samples per day can be analyzed at the mobile laboratory for either polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), also referred to as petroluem hydrocarbons (PHC). Barrels found on-site were analyzed for PCB content and for hydrocarbon identity. Water, concrete and sludge samples were also analyzed for PCBs and TPH.

All samples were analyzed and reported within a 32 hour time limit. This maximized productivity and minimized project down time.

Excellent progress was made in the 2011 season. Construction work proceeded rapidly. Over 20000 barrels were processed, asbestos was removed from all the buildings and most of the buildings were demolished. Many PCB and TPH contaminated soil areas were fully remediated to a strict regulation limit (<0.3ppm for PCBs).

The season started in June and the much of the cleanup work was concluded by October 2011. The 2012 season started in mid June and the final cleanup is scheduled for mid August 2012.

During the 2012 season, the on-site lab analyzed around 600 samples including TPH in soil, PCBs in soil, PCBs in oil, BTEX on badges (monitoring), PCBs on air tubes (monitoring), PCBs in paint/wood and PCBs in concrete.

Site 500 in the NEWS

“Crews and local residents in the northern Ontario First Nations community of Peawanuck are teaming up to begin the long-awaited cleanup at a Cold War-era military base. Site 500 is the largest of 16 mid-Canada radar sites scattered across northern Ontario. The base was home to several hundred people who worked at the site when it operated in the 1950s and 1960s. Now the site is home to a small camp of contractors starting the long-awaited project of cleaning up the mess left behind — a junkyard filled with abandoned vehicles, thousands of leaky fuel barrels and barracks with asbestos in the walls, the CBC's Allison Dempster reports. The community has long been concerned about polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants in the site's soil getting into the food chain through the area's hunting and fishing grounds” – CTV News, Aug 2011

Site 500 Location

location of Winisk Site 500 on map

Site 500 is located inside, but is not a part of 'Polar Bear Provincial Park'. There are no roads for hundred of Km from the site and on-site logistics require careful planning and co-ordination. From Kingston, personnel require 4 separate flights to access the site.
Heavy equipment was transported via the longest ice road in the world (Guiness Book of Records). Transport by sea is not possible due to the late breakup of the ice in the spring and due to the remoteness from main shipping routes.

Due to the presence of black and polar bears, the main camp is located behind an electrified fence and bear monitors are employed from the local community of Peawanuck to ensure worker safety.

Everyone on site works a minimum of 10 hours a day every day. Crew rotations can be as short as 1 week for specialized workers or as long as 5 weeks.

Demolition of concrete pad near mobile lab

Demolition of concrete pad near mobile lab