There have been so many setbacks in cleaning up Randle
Reef, the notorious dead zone in Hamilton Harbour, that it
seemed as if a solution would take forever. So much
for the litany of bad news associated with the toxic
hot spot just west of Stelco's Hilton Works. With key
stakeholders now in agreement on a viable strategy for the
cleanup, Hamilton is finally in position to correct one of
the most pressing pollution problems in the harbour.
The stakeholders made a prudent choice in supporting a plan
to cover the site and build a facility large enough
to hold contaminated sediment from other areas in the bay.
Capping Randle Reef was judged the most practical and cost-effective
approach, and for good reason. The alternatives involved dredging the
site, and other contaminated areas of the bay, and then
trucking the waste away. It would be a messy, piecemeal,
time-consuming and ultimately more expensive approach for the harbour as
The plan favoured by the stakeholders has the drawback of
filling in more of the bay, which is never desirable.
But there is a strong case that it's an acceptable
tradeoff in tackling not only the Randle Reef menace, but
other contaminated areas in the bay which must be addressed.
Under the preferred option, six to eight hectares of the
harbour would be filled in. About 95,000 cubic metres of
contaminated sediment at Randle Reef would be covered. The facility
would be designed to accommodate another 200,000 cubic metres of
contaminated sediment from elsewhere in the bay.