Cleanup set to start
Burned DEW Line site

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

Ottawa (May 01/00) - The Department of National Defence says the cleanup of a contaminated, burned-out, long-range radar site will begin early this month.

Major Allan Cameron said talks with contractor Pan-Arctic Inuit Logistics began last week as to how long the cleanup of PIN-3 at Lady Franklin Point will take and what procedures will be followed.

"Our intentions are to start as early this month as possible, we are estimating the cleanup will take about a week," said Cameron from his office in Ottawa.

The plan is to use heavy equipment already at the former DEW (distant early warning) Line site to push contaminated snow onto the burned area, therefore containing all of the ash in one spot.

An estimated 100-by-200 meter area has been contaminated by dioxins, a recognized carcinogen, hydrocarbon contaminants, glycols and PCBs (poly-chlorinated biphenyls).

"Once all of the ash and snow is in one area, the crew will dig and line ditches around it, as well as dig a lined pond for the melt water," said Cameron.

"We will monitor and test the water for contaminants and determine how to treat them from there."

That process will likely take the cleanup into the summer, when the site is scheduled for delineation. In the summer of 2001, the site is scheduled for a complete cleanup.

Pan-Arctic Inuit Logistics president Ken Drolet says the company is just waiting for the final plans to begin the scheduled cleanup.

Wholly-owned by seven Inuit development corporations, Pan-Arctic Inuit Logistics and Atco-Frontec hold the contract to operate and maintain the 11 long-range radar sites and 36 short-range radar sites that extend from the Alaska border to the Labrador coast.

"Originally, (PIN-3) wasn't on the schedule for cleanup this early, but DND adjusted their plans to take into account the fire and results from it," said Drolet.

"They want to deal with this in the most efficient and effective way possible."

The radar site caught fire in January and was left to burn itself out over the course of five days.

Because the building that housed the site was built in the 1950s, the paint on the walls contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), of which dioxins are a byproduct.