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Contaminated site remediation in Chisasibi: daring to overcome challenges

May 11, 2022

At Englobe, we put words into action when it comes to environmental impact. Our recognized expertise in site remediation gives us the opportunity to take on exciting projects that motivate and inspire us—like the one we recently completed in Chisasibi. 

  

In 2015, Hydro-Québec retained our services for a major project on the territory of the Chisasibi Cree Nation in James Bay. Our mission was to rehabilitate an old oil depot used during the construction of the La Grande River hydroelectric complex from 1973 to 1984. Depot operations and accidental spills at the site had had a significant impact, leaving the area contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons, with nearly 1,000 barrels buried onsite. 

  

Challenges make us thrive and motivate us to go above and beyond. And with this project, we were able to do just that! We reached out to stakeholders from day one to identify approaches suitable for the needs of the project. To meet project objectives, we worked to build good relationships and collaborated closely with the Cree community, which represented 85% of the workforce. 

  

Big challenges and innovative solutions 

During the project, we took a series of measures to reduce environmental impacts. These included the application of a renewable energy-only soil treatment technology, transportation and disposal of all project waste offsite at licensed facilities, metal recycling, and recovery of materials for future reuse. We worked hard to keep impacts to the minimum. Once the contaminants and materials were removed, the area was restored to blend in with the surrounding landscape, erasing the vestiges of the past. Finally, we wrapped up the project by revegetating the whole area! 

  

Bold and promising initiatives 

Building trust was a priority for this project, which involved the Cree Nation, the Government of Quebec and Hydro-Québec. A project management and monitoring committee was set up to keep the parties informed as work progressed. This approach ensured that everyone understood what was going on and contributed to a positive outcome. What’s more, Englobe’s team established a strong occupational health and safety culture by helping the contractor improve their program. We also participated in the training of Cree staff and recommended safer ways of working for the well-being of all. 

  

“Not only did the project meet soil and groundwater remediation objectives, it was also a great collaborative success” – Luc Daigle, Project Director. 

  

Finding inspiration thanks to our community partners 

We’ve been working closely with Indigenous communities for over 30 years. From harnessing traditional knowledge to supporting cultural initiatives, we strive to build lasting and harmonious human relationships. During the project, we organized training and mentoring workshops with the ultimate goal of teaching transferable skills that contributed to the professional development of community members. 

  

“The project’s main goal was to initiate a process by the parties involved to hand the site back to the Chisasibi Cree Nation. It was a privilege to help restore this site located on community land for the benefit of the Chisasibi Cree Nation.” –  Luc Daigle, Project Director. 

  

An award winning, joint success 

The Chisasibi project earned Englobe a Canadian Consulting Engineering Award of Excellence in 2021. “We owe this award to the members of our team, our client’s representatives, and our local partners in Chisasibi. 

  

We couldn’t have done it without you!” – Mike Cormier, Co-President of Englobe.  

  

  

This article was originally published on Les Affaires: https://www.lesaffaires.com/dossiers-partenaires/laudace-dagir-pour-avoir-un-impact-tangible/la-rehabilitation-dun-site-contamine-a-chisasibi-laudace-de-relever-les-defis/632399 

Englobe is one of Canada’s premier firms specializing in professional engineering services, environmental sciences, and soil and biomass treatment.