AltaLink needed to reclaim their decommissioned Judy Creek Substation located in northern Alberta and apply for a reclamation certificate. A typical substation reclamation project involves determining whether there is soil contamination present due to transformer oil or other contaminates that may have leaked or spilled over the course of operations. Matrix conducted a Phase I environmental site assessment (ESA) and identified some areas of soil contamination that had to be removed in order to meet the natural conditions of the adjacent landscape.
Matrix was tasked with taking the substation from a partially decommissioned state and reclaiming it back to natural conditions with equivalent land capability.
The first step was the removal of concrete pads and other remaining structures, which revealed an asbestos lined electrical conduit. Matrix engaged the services of a subcontractor specialized in asbestos assessment to safely sample, abate, and dispose of the asbestos conduit.
Next, Matrix conducted a Phase II ESA to delineate the soil area that had transformer oil contamination. The contaminated subsoil was removed with an excavator, replaced with clean fill material, and compacted.
The site subgrade was re-contoured, then topsoil was placed and the site was seeded. No coarse woody debris remained, so Matrix coordinated with a local forestry operator to acquire small, scrap logs to spread over the reclaimed area to stabilize the soil and facilitate re-vegetation. To augment the natural re-vegetation, Matrix hired a tree planting contractor to plant pine and spruce tree seedlings at a density that would ensure the stem count would meet reclamation requirements. Other areas within the transmission line right-of-way and next to the road were seeded using a grass mixture suitable to the area.
The northern location of the substation site meant the required remediation and reclamation work had to be completed over one short summer season. The presence of asbestos added an additional aspect to the scope and schedule of the site reclamation.
The substation was successfully remediated and reclaimed and back to natural conditions with equivalent land capability and meet all the applicable Alberta Government regulatory criteria. Matrix submitted an application on behalf of AltaLink to the Government of Alberta for a site reclamation certificate.