Contaminated ground removed around lighthouse

Leanne Delong/Digby
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Lead paint contamination at the base of the Boar Head light station on Brier Island means the ground will be removed and decontaminated as part of the federal contaminated sites action plan program.

“The project involves the remediation of approximately 1,000 tonnes of metal-impacted soil, which exceeds risk-based criteria at the Boars Head Light,” says Tasha Andrews, acting manager of environmental management with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Clean Earth Technologies, a Halifax-based company, is transporting the soil to its washing facility and the excavated areas will be backfilled with new, clean soil, she said.

Clean Earth started to remove the soil around the light station during the first week of September. “We’re just finishing up in terms of getting rid of the contaminated soil and our portion should be complete sometime next week,” said Clean Earth official Collin Morrell.

Funding for the $216,000 cleanup is coming through the federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.

Prior to 1980, lighthouses were painted with lead paint, Andrews explained. Harsh weather over the years caused paint to flake off to the ground, a common problem at most lighthouses. “DFO has been assessing its lighthouse properties for impacts. Based on assessment results and using a risk management approach, DFO will determine if remediation is required. The RCSAP program funded another lighthouse in Digby County recently, Prim Point was remediated in 2007-08,” said Andrews.

With work almost complete on the lighthouse, Tiverton and Central Grove Heritage Association has expressed interest in purchasing the lighthouse from DFO, said department official Perry Rideout. “Despite the diminishing need for some traditional lighthouses due to advances in electronic navigation, DFO does recognize the importance of these structures to local communities and maritime history,” said Rideout. “DFO has special authority to transfer operating lighthouses like Boars Head to other levels of government and also not-for-profit community groups.”

For more information about lighthouse history visit www.nslps.com. ldelong@digbycourier.ca

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Contaminated Sites Action Plan, Tiverton and Central Grove Heritage Association

Geographic location: Digby County

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