Sunday, June 13, 2010

PoCo liability with Kennametal contaminated site

Some information about the old Macro-Kennametal site along Kingsway in Port Coquitlam. PoCo bought a portion of the site of the old Macro-Kennametal site for southern landing of the Coast Meridian Overpass, and had it cleaned up. But the site was there for 44 years, and a lot of the pollutants did not stay on the site, since the waste dump was fully exposed to the elements, and surface runoff, and probably considerable amounts found its way into the local watercourses. Nothing used to grow near or on this dump. Testing needs to be done around the area to determine how much risk still exists to the environment. PoCo is only concerned with the site itself, as usual, not thinking outside of the box.

Makes one wonder how competent some of the city staff are, the more we pay them the dumber they get.

In 1952, a tungsten smelter was established by Kennametal Ltd. The company waste site eventually became at least 2-3 acres in size, and nothing ever grew on it. Fluoride being very toxic to plants, animals, with the Cobalt, Manganese and other metal compounds, in a very acidic waste stream, creating a toxic soup that eventually found its way into the local streams that led into the Pitt River.
This companies past practices, have had a large impact on Broadway Creek, that continues to this day.
Typical responses from the councillors and City staff, not "our" problem. Well I totally disagree, the more soluble waste products from the Kennametal operation, entered the nearby watercourses many, many years ago. And they will continue to cycle their way through the ecosystem for many generations to come, affecting the taxpayers now and in the future.
These excerpts from old reports are very telling, the City and the Province knew about the problems many years ago, but did nothing about it.

Title: Fraser River Estuary study – Industrial effluents. 1980 report (9.79Mb,PDF)

Page 50-1(pdf=70-1)

4.6.1 Kennametal Inc., Port Coquitlam (PE 2350)
This manufacturing operation produces carbides of Titanium, Tantalum, Tungsten and Niobium. Wastewater which is discharged consists of uncontaminated cooling water, discussed in Section 8.9.1, and process wastewater.
The process wastewater originates as spent acid solution from the leaching process to reduce impurities, the washing of settled metal carbides, and water from two centrifuges used to reclaim carbides. The process wastewater is discharged to an exfiltration pond. This results in an indirect discharge to the river.
Several analyses of groundwater, between March and July 1975, indicated the following median values: pH,3.7 (range 3.5-5.7); dissolved aluminum 242 mg/L (range 0.6-260 mg/L); dissolved nickel, 20.6 mg/L (range <0.01-26.1 pdf="111)" style="text-align: center;"> Table 21-page 164 (pdf=184)

Title: Coquitlam-Pitt area. Tributaries to the Lower Fraser River along the North Shore.
Water quality assessment and objectives technical appendix December,1989 (6.42Mb, PDF)

Kennametal: pages 31-32(pdf=43-44)

114 m3/day at 24°max cooling jackets, pumps condensers. Carbide manufacturing plant. Process consisted of acid leaching of ground metal carbide, washing of the settled carbides, and centrifuging of the flotation skimmings.
Individual effluents from various processes are held in three tanks prior to entering an exfiltration basin.
The exfiltration basin is about 4 km from the Pitt River.
Permit PE 2350 allows the discharge of 45 m3/day (labelled "01" in table 9) to the pond from the refractory carbide refinery with a pH from 8.5 to 10.5 and the following maximum values for the dissolved fractions of:

iron, 5.0mg/L; nickel, 1.0mg/L; cobalt, 1.0 mg/L; manganese, 1.5mg/L; and fluoride, 10mg/L.

From the vacuum drying section of the powder milling building, the discharge to the exfiltration basin of a maximum 114 m3/d (labelled "02" in table 9) of cooling water at maximum temperatures of 24 C is allowed under permit PE2350.

Data in table 9 indicates that the permit limits are seldom achieved.

Data for 1986 do not indicate any improvement in effluent quality.

The company also has a permit PR 2351 for a refuse site. [Note: This is what has been dealt with recently.]
Metal concentrates are smelted and cooled in graphite crucibles which are broken to free the metal. These broken crucibles comprise 90% of the refuse.
Broken refractory brick and linings from the furnaces account for the remainder of the refuse. In addition sludge from the effluent holding tanks and the exfiltration pond are also disposed of at the refuse site.
Permit PR 2351 allows the disposal of a total of 1.1m3/d to the refuse site.
If lime were added so that the pH of both the refuse and wastewater effluent was at least 10.5, this operation would have only a minimal impact on groundwater. However, this remedy has yet to be implemented.

Table 9; page 117(pdf=129)

+ Median value “01” = discharge from refractory carbide refinery
* All values are as mg/L except: “02” = discharge from vacuum drying section of the powder milling building.
(1) Flow as M3/Day. (2) pH (3) Specific conductivity as μs/cm Source: B.C. Ministry of the Environment.
Water quality criteria for salmon culture

Temperature toxic >25°C
pH best 6.5-8.5 toxic <5,>9 [1.5 lowest, to a 10.8 high. Extremely variable.]
Fluoride <1.5

Media from the NOW newspaper....

“Contaminated” soil near overpass. By: Jennifer McFee
Coquitlam NOW June 2, 2010.

Councillors knew of contaminant. “We never kept it a secret,” Port Coquitlam Coun. Darrell Penner says.
By: Jennifer McFee, Coquitlam NOW June 4, 2010.

Concern growing over contaminants. By: Jennifer Mcfee, Coquitlam NOW June 11, 2010

Contaminants moving toward river June 23,2010




The company has been involved in various environmental cleanup and remediation activities at several of its manufacturing facilities. In addition, the company has been named as a potentially responsible party at four Superfund sites in the United
States. However, it is management's opinion, based on its evaluations and discussions with outside counsel and independent consultants, that the ultimate resolution of these environmental matters will not have a material adverse effect on the results of operations, financial position or cash flows of the company. The company maintains a Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) Department as well as an EH&S Policy Committee to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and to monitor and oversee remediation activities.
addition, the company has established an EH&S administrator at each of its domestic manufacturing facilities. The company's financial management team periodically meets with members of the Corporate EH&S Department and the Corporate Legal Department to review and evaluate the status of environmental projects and contingencies. On a quarterly and annual basis,management establishes or adjusts financial provisions and reserves for environmental contingencies in accordance with SFAS No. 5, "Accounting for Contingencies."
[ So the Company is not as “green” as they would want us to believe.]


This is the Environment Canada file on the site, does not really tell much at all. The interesting part is how the companies’ environmental consultant, based in Pennsylvania, lists the wastes as being offsite.

NPRI ID: 3236

Number of employees: 74
Ceased operations September 1996, razed buildings December 1996. [ demolished by Litchfield, who from their website were proud that they recycled 80% of the buildings. Wonder how many safety precautions were in place, some of the buildings would have had fine metal dust throughout..]