An investigation into industrial contamination found in the soil under the municipal parking lot at is going to cost the Town of Midland a minimum of $100,000.
had purchased the lot in 2016 with the intention of building a waterfront brew pub, but low levels of industrial contamination found in the soil and issues with groundwater quality .
After the deal fell apart in late 2017, the Town hired Stantec Consulting Ltd. to conduct a contamination overview study.
Town officials believe the low levels of contaminant found in the soil at 526 Bay St. were transferred through groundwater and that the contaminated soil is upstream from the parking lot.
“The study identified 63 potential sources of contamination and ranked them high, medium and low,” said Andy Campbell, director of engineering, water and wastewater.
Drilling will begin in September in the areas that ranked high on the list, which includes the vicinity of 509 Bay St., a property that used to be occupied by Imperial Oil.
“The drilling and analysis will tell us if we really just have an issue at 509 or 526 Bay St. or that it’s in a much broader area,” said Campbell.
The proposal that went before council on July 23 had estimated costs for a subsurface investigation at $100,400. This number could change depending on what is discovered in the coming months.
“The only way to find out what is underground is to start drilling holes and do analysis,” said Campbell. “At this point, we are trying to minimize the drilling we do to contain costs, but if we find something that shows we need more holes, we will do that.”
Initial contaminant levels found in the soil in 2017 were well below provincial guidelines and do not pose any immediate health risks. Should this change, the public will be notified.
“We want to ensure everyone is aware of what is going on underground there. If there are any health concerns, we will address them,” said Campbell.
Staff are optimistic that surplus funds in the 2018 budget will cover costs of the investigation.