Residents safe -- slag pile is not moving

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
April 8th, 2013

Residents living along the Granby River can rest easy that they won’t wake up to a flooded home. City councillors heard reassuring reports from Interior Testing Services and Urban Systems at their committee of the whole meeting, April 2.

“There is absolutely no movement of the slag stockpile,” said Peter Hanenburg, a geotechnical engineer with Interior Testing Services. Hanenburg and his team have been studying Overton Creek and monitoring the angles of the slag pile.

He saw no changes during his study, not even during the key period when the creek started to unthaw at the end of February.

Hanenburg reassured councillors that there wasn’t any pressure to act quickly or panic about the slag pile’s position.

Instead, he encouraged councillors to continue monitoring the situation because an action plan is in place should circumstances change.

“It’s designed and ready to go if and when need be, but I wouldn’t say you need to do it right now,” he stressed.

In order to prevent Overton Creek from degrading the slag pile and risking a slide flooding the river, councillors were prepared to divert the water flow around the slag pile, an endeavour that was initially priced at $270,000.

The price has gone up since the original quote, largely because of the rush to get the job done. Councillors and residents wanted to take immediate action to prevent any damage from the shifting slag pile. This meant estimates were made in a pinch, using general knowledge of the creek.

“We were running on the assumption that the creek had low run-off,” said Scott Shepherd from Urban Systems. Instead, they found the creek had a higher rate of run-off, which means it would need larger pipes to divert the water. This was just one of the issues that would add to the cost.

When the project was put out to tender, they received four bids and the lowest came in at $65,000 above the estimated budget.

The cost, plus a positive report on the slag pile, means councillors are able to suspend the project. This is something that Hanenburg encourages.

We have time to make rational, reasonable decisions instead of authorizing the diversion of the creek which might open up a different kettle of worms,” he noted.

The next steps are to get water studies done on the slag pile, to continue monitoring the slag pile’s angles and to talk to Pacific Abrasives about their part in further plans.

“We need to talk to Pacific Abrasives about engaging a hydrologist,” said chief administrative officer Doug Allin, noting the city is responsible for what happens to the slag pile when it is their portion of the site but the company is responsible for what happens on their part.

Residents at the meeting spoke up to express their relief that the slag pile isn’t moving, but they are hopeful further action is taken in the future. 

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