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Buried drums excavated from Chemtura site

Gail Martin, Independent Editor

Chemtura hopes to continue excavation work on its site to remove buried drums that are remnants from Elmira’s former landfill.

Last summer, the chemical company excavated the remnants of 125 buried drums, along with dark, tarry soil that surrounded them.

The drums had been discovered when Chemtura attempted to extend a pipeline in the area.

Jeff Merriman, an environmental engineer with Chemtura, presented the findings at the July 26 Chemtura Public Advisory Committee.

Merriman said that the drums were no longer intact, but the company believes the equivalent of 125 drums were removed, along with 478 tonnes of soil.

“It was contaminated, so we took out all the contaminated material,” said Merriman. The contaminated soil was removed to a depth of 3m, until all traces of the tarry soil was removed, said Merriman.

The soil was sent to a secure landfill site in Hamilton.

The soil had been tested for contaminants, but Merriman said there was no one single chemical that “jumped out.”

The company still needs to excavate more buried drums, located under a temporary building that is used to store sand and salt for the winter months.

This work may be completed later this year.

“It’s important to note this part of the (former) municipal landfill is contained, both in the shallow and municipal aquifer,” said Merriman. “There is no impact to the environment.”

Merriman pointed to this excavation as an instance where Chemtura removes contamination from the soil, when it is found.

“If we find waste material, we endeavour to excavate it, and this is an example,” said Merriman.

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