British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Pit to park : gravel mine reclamation using biosolids Van Ham, Mike; Lee, Ken; McLean, Barry


In an innovative recycling and mine reclamation project Valley Gravel Sales Ltd., GVRD Parks, GVRD Biosolids Recycling and Sylvis Environmental worked together in the reclamation of a gravel pit located in one of GVRD's regional parks. In the transformation from "Pit to Park" the use of Nutrifor™ (GVRD's biosolids) and Nutrifor compost was proposed as a soil amendment to assist in the establishment of vegetation over the site. Extensive public consultation was conducted in both final land use planning and the use of organic amendments in achieving mutual objectives. As the gravel pit and park are located over the sensitive Abbotsford Sumas aquifer, there was concern that the addition of organic amendments would further compromise aquifer quality. Local area residents, some on shallow well water, were also concerned about the possible impact of the application on their drinking water source. Local area wells were included in the monitoring program and stakeholders were involved in the decision-making and progress of the reclamation activities through public meetings, tours, direct mail-outs and newspaper advertisements. A lysimeter study was completed to quantify the environmental effects of the proposed applications on the groundwater, soil and vegetation prior to reclamation. This study assisted in refining and verifying amendment application rates that are protective of the environment. Upon receiving a BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks Approval, approximately 12 hectares of the recontoured pit were reclaimed with 930 bulk tonnes (235 dry tonnes) of biosolids and 3918 bulk tonnes (1884 dry tonnes) of biosolids compost as a 1:1:4 by volume mix (compost:biosolids:native soil) in September, 1999. After the removal of the last sand stockpile expected in Summer 2000, final applications will be made in the late summer to the remaining areas. Environmental monitoring showed a post application increase in soil nutrients. No effect on groundwater or surface water was observed. The gravel pit within Aldergrove Lake Regional Park will soon be a parkland green space, complete with picnic area, concert bowl, and a canoeing lake with three islands.

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