Resolution Island Remediation Project
Resolution Island (BAF-5) is located approximately 320 kilometres southeast of Iqaluit at the mouth of Frobisher Bay. It was part of the Pole Vault Line, used to transmit intercepted northern signals to southern military stations.
Contaminant of Concern
Numerous buildings and a large amount of hazardous and non-hazardous debris remained on the site following closure. Site investigations identified eight dumps of various sizes, scattered throughout the site and large amounts of soil contaminated with elevated levels of heavy metals, hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
History of Site
Resolution Island is located about 320 kilometres to the southeast of Iqaluit. Opened in the early 1950's Resolution Island was part of the US government's Pinetree and Pole Vault Lines. The base was vacated in 1973 and turned over to the Canadian government in 1974. It was during site investigations between 1987 and 1990 that the contamination at the site was first discovered. The contamination originated largely from spills from the radar equipment where PCBs were used as insulators. There were also other pollutants such as unused transformer fluids, hydrocarbons, asbestos and heavy metals in the buildings and the site. Resolution Island was identified as having the highest level of PCB contamination of all former military sites that fall under Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's (INAC) responsibility in the North.
In 1993 and 1994 an environmental site assessment of the area was completed. As a result, temporary barriers were placed across drainage paths to stop the migration of PCBs into the water.
In 1997, INAC started remediation work in partnership with the Inuit owned development corporation, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) and with help from Queen's University, scientific advisors to the project. Remediation was completed in 2007 with:
- Approximately 4,000 cubic metres of PCB-contaminated soil excavated, packaged and shipped south for disposal;
- Three new landfills constructed;
- Eight existing dumps remediated;
- Fifteen unsafe buildings demolished; and
- Disposal of over 6,000 cubic metres of scattered barrels and debris.
A project priority was to increase Inuit employment and to provide training. As a result, the project maximized employment opportunities for residents of the closest communities: Iqaluit, Kimmirut and Pangnirtung. Over 85 percent of the workers on this project were Inuit and over 25 percent of the time spent on site was dedicated to training.
INAC continues to implement a 25-year monitoring plan for the Resolution Island site, ensuring remediation objectives are met.
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