We’ve been involved in the Tar Ponds cleanup process for many years.  Unfortunately, it has now become a $400 million cover-up. As interested citizens, we feel that things have not always been managed well, and we intend to let the public know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes at the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency’s cleanup site.

The Tar Ponds is a hazardous waste site located in the middle of Sydney, Nova Scotia. It is surrounded by homes, businesses, schools, grocery stores and malls.  It is a tidal estuary, located at the bottom of a watershed which empties into Sydney Harbour.  The Tar Ponds contain approximately 700,000 tonnes of sludge contaminated with PCBs, PAHs, semi-volatiles, metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, etc.) petroleum hydrocarbons, BTEX, HNCs and dioxins/furans.

After several failed attempts at cleaning up this toxic waste site and wasting hundreds of millions of dollars, governments consulted with the community in a process called the Joint Action Group to help determine the best solution for a clean up.  After 7 years and thousands of volunteer hours, the community recommended removal and destruction technologies.  The government completely ignored this recommendation and chose SS – stabilization and solidification (mixing cement powder with sludge); a technology completely unproven for the Tar Ponds.

A full panel environmental assessment was conducted which concluded: “The Panel is not convinced that the SS technology is proven for use in the Tar Ponds context – that is, to be applied to organic contaminants in organically enriched sediments in an estuary with potential groundwater and seawater influx.”  In other words, a really bad idea.  However, the government is proceeding to waste another $400 million in a “cleanup” that cleans up nothing.

Our new site http://www.tarpondscleanup.info will also house images, videos and documents we feel are relevant to research on this topic.



  1. God help us.

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