No end-date for cleanup at former Heidelberg Motors site
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No end-date for cleanup at former Heidelberg Motors site

Underground cleanup efforts at a former gas station in Heidelberg will continue until remediation is completed, unaffected by a legal settlement reached earlier this month between the Region of Waterloo and Imperial Oil.

The company is footing the bill for the remediation costs under the direction of the Ministry of the Environment.

Work has been ongoing since a 2007 regional project on Lobsinger Line discovered old contaminants, mostly hydrocarbons, on the former Heidelberg Motors site.

A settlement reached in April and subsequently approved by regional council, covered legal action stemming from the discovery of the pollutants. Imperial Oil agreed to pay $450,000 to the region, which has run up legal bills of some $260,000. The deal also provides the region indemnity against further contaminants.

“I cannot discuss specifics of the settlement in detail without the other parties’ permission. I can only confirm what has already being reported, which is that the indemnity agreement relates to future regional road works which are not planned at this time,” said region lawyer Richard Brookes in an email.

Imperial Oil spokesperson Killeen Kelly said this week the settlement would have no impact on the remediation work at the site.

The company is pumping contaminants from the location and monitoring the plume “to ensure the work is effective,” she said from the Calgary head office.

Though there’s no timeline – “we don’t have an end date at this point” – the work will continue until the cleanup is done.

The MOE has determined that the main contaminants at the site are petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs), but there are also smaller amounts of BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) related to automotive shop operations.

While the work is being carried out voluntarily by Imperial Oil – there’s no control order – the progress is monitored by the ministry.

Amy Shaw, the MOE’s district supervisor in Guelph, said an annual review is part of the process.

“On October 24, 2013, Imperial Oil met with the ministry to discuss site cleanup activities to date, as well as the work plan for 2014,” she explained in an email. “The long-term remedial objective for the site continues to be the removal of contaminants through the use of a product recovery system. Phase II of the project began in January 2013, which involves the installation of additional recovery wells.”

The plans don’t include a timeline for completing the work.

“Given current information, the ministry is unable to ascertain how long remediation efforts will be required at this site.”

Kelly said Imperial will continue to pump the contaminants out of the ground, monitoring and removing them through a vacuum-recovery system.

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