Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 108

DCC is overseeing the cleanup of former DEW Line sites—such as this one in Nunavut in 2006—to ensure the proper disposal of contaminants ranging from polychlorinated biphenyls to waste oil and diesel fuel. Sandstone renewal… Calgary, early 1990s—Fred Zmetana After a devastating fire ripped through the wooden buildings of downtown Calgary in 1886, the town coun- cil passed a new law ensuring that all large buildings in the city centre would be constructed of sandstone, which was easily available locally. We had a major project on the Mewata Armoury in Calgary, on its exterior sandstone—a lot of it was falling apart. I went to Toronto to a University of New Brunswick course on masonry specifically for the restoration of sandstone—so I was ready to tackle that big job. A lot of the sandstone had to be replaced, but the job went very well. Fred Zmetana retired in Calgary in 1992. 98 Project: DEW Line Cleanup When the North Warning System replaced the DEW Line, many of the DEW Line sites were no longer needed— and although the Line was officially closed in 1993, its sites and their hazards remained. One study, for example, reported that more than 30 tons of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) had been brought into the Arctic for construction and maintenance at the 63 sites in Alaska, Canada and Greenland. A 1985 evaluation of sites abandoned in the early 1960s revealed the presence of waste oil, aviation and diesel fuel, capacitors and trans- formers containing PCBs, solvents, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and lindane. Some 5,000 litres of PCBs were removed from those sites at that time. When the stations had been established, the conse- quences of contamination were either unknown or not fully understood. Wastes and surplus material were either buried in pits on land or left out on the ice to sink into the sea during seasonal thaws. When it came to BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA