Volume 93, Issue 36

Wednesday, November 3, 1999


OUSA forum harps on students' tuition

No Return of the Blob for the city

Access cause for concern in market

Tadpoles may hold key

Brain drain continues to cause campus concern


bass ackwards

Caught on campus

No Return of the Blob for the city

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

London residents will not have to fear the dreaded blob, which has plagued the Thames River for much longer, as the clean up is finally getting under way.

The toxic tar coal blob, a by-product of a coal gasification process which took place between 1853 and 1939, was discovered on Sept. 13 near the south bank of the river.

"Right now [the Ministry of the Environment] has just awarded a contract," said Bob Massecar, communications officer for the southwestern office of the Ministry. He explained although London's Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, an engineering firm, have been chosen for the job, the proposal for the contract is still to be finalized.

The estimated cost is still in the range of $250,000 to $550,000, Massecar said.

Gerald Ducharme, Thames River clean up project manager for Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, said the firm is familiar with this type of work as they have worked on toxic clean ups in the past.The project will entail removing the contaminated soil from the site found last September as well as a site originally found in 1989 within the same area. "While we're in there, we want to finish the whole job," Massecar said. He added the original blob found in 1989 was covered by a clay overlay.

Massecar said the three foot deep clay overlay, which was used to contain the smaller 1989 blob, had eroded to one and a half feet deep. These conditions made it imperative as well as cost effective to clean up both sites at the same time.

"A considerable amount of preparatory work still has to be done. We have to obtain approvals, materials and work," said Ed Jambor, manager of operations at London Hydro, who will oversee the project.

Jambor added it would not be difficult to get the project underway, as London Hydro sits on a committee with the City of London, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources, who are all eager to complete the effort. "We'll begin before the onset of winter," Jambor said.

London's Deputy Mayor Anne-Marie DeCicco said while the city has not yet received an official update on the clean up situation, she is happy it has begun. "It's a very positive thing that we will get the whole area cleaned up," she said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999