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KBL looks to build new facility
Company seeks water license and hopes to construct and begin operating soil treatment plant this summer

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Thursday, April 20, 2017

KBL Environmental Ltd. is back in Inuvik pitching its plan for a permanent soil treatment facility at the landfill.

NNSL photograph

Shawn Samborsky, project director at KBL Environmental Ltd., gives a presentation on his company's proposed soil treatment facility at the Inuvik landfill Thursday, April 13. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

The company caused a stir at town council last fall when it hoped to build a temporary soil treatment facility that would transition into a permanent one.

Though council approved the request in a split decision, KBL did not end up building that temporary facility. It is now pursuing a Type B water license to construct and operate a permanent facility.

"There was a project on the Dempster Highway that had had a bit of urgency behind it," recalled Shawn Samborsky, project director at KBL, about the interest in a temporary facility last fall.

"The regulator wanted to see the soil removed from this particular contaminated site and our hope was to build a facility in order to accommodate that over winter. The regulator has since changed their stance, and that's because the soil at this particular site is considered contained, so there's less urgency."

KBL operates soil treatment facilities in Yellowknife and Hay River already. The facility essentially cleans up contaminated soil.

"We look at something that's considered a waste product, especially a hazardous waste product, and taking that product that can cost a client a lot of money to deal with. and finding a way to alter it somehow so that it becomes benign and then has a purpose," explained Karen Fortin-Wooding, Yukon project director for the company.

At the soil treatment facility, no soil would ever be co-mingled, she explained.

"You don't mix dirty with less-dirty to get better," she said. "Each site is a segregated area and they are not mixed."

Samborsky's pitch for a permanent facility at the Inuvik landfill centres on the fact that the closest similar facility is in Whitehorse, YT.

Transporting contaminated soil all the way to Whitehorse from this region is costly, he said.

"The hope would be when this facility opens it would be a local option that's a little bit less expensive," said Samborsky.

"As well, there's some oil and gas activity north of town - in fact, we know there's been contaminated soil moving through the community south and to Whitehorse - so the hope would be again we could provide a local option."

The benefit for the town, he said, is the treated soil would provide landfill cover. KBL has also worked out a royalty structure with the Town of Inuvik.

"We hope to provide one job, at least, in town," said Samborsky, adding that contractors would have work transporting soil to the facility.

KBL is also open to working with Aurora College and the Aurora Research Institute should opportunities arise. That topic was brought up during the debates at council last fall.

"If they had graduates form a particular program that had a close skill set to what we were looking for, we would absolutely employ somebody from the Aurora College," said Samborsky.

Fortin-Wooding said KBL has reached out to the research centre but hasn't spoken to anyone yet.

"That offer would be there to the research centre if someone wanted to look at a particular potential remediation technology in a cold-weather climate at our facility, we could make room for that, absolutely," she said.

The company is currently in the process of acquiring a Type B water license from the Gwich'in Land and Water Board. It held two public engagement sessions last week, but only a handful of people attended.

If the Gwich'in Land and Water Board approves KBL's application, the company would begin construction immediately, perhaps in mid-July if all things go well.

The construction is capital-intensive but rather simple and would take about two weeks.

KBL would hope to start operating immediately once construction is complete.

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