Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Contaminated Sites

Arrow/Kurdistan Oily Waste Sites


Two tanker accidents in the 1970s (Arrow 1970 and Kurdistan 1979) spilled over four million gallons of Bunker C oil on Nova Scotia’s shoreline off Guysborough County and in the Cabot Strait. The Canadian Coast Guard and Federal Environmental Protection Services led the emergency response with support from the provincial government. Shoreline cleanup of oily debris was placed in 18 oily waste disposal sites – four in Cape Breton County, nine in Richmond County and five in Guysborough County. Of these:

  • nine are on provincial Crown land (Natural Resources and Renewables is responsible for eight; Environmental and Climate Change is responsible for one)
  • two on federal land (MacIntrye Road site and the Atomic Energy Commission Limited heavy water plant, both in Glace Bay)
  • four on municipal land (Woodbine, Lincolnville, West Arichat, L’Ardoise landfills)
  • two on private land (Brogan Coal Strip Mine and L’Ardoise landfill site)
  • one location the ownership is to be confirmed (L’Ardoise)

Summary of Sites and Status

Provincial Crown Sites

Richmond County - Forchu, St. Peters, MacIntyre Lake, Janvrin Island and Evanston (Doyle Road)

Guysborough County - Hadleyville, Fox Island, Little Dover (Coastal Barrens Wilderness Area) and Sand Point

Assessments were conducted on all provincial Crown land sites in 2010, except for Evanston and MacIntyre Lake. Evanston was assessed in 2017-18 and MacIntyre Lake is currently being assessed along with Hadleyville, Guysborough County. Future assessments are planned for Fox Island, St. Peters, Forchu and Janvrin Island.

Of the nine sites, Sand Point, Evanston and Little Dover have entered the Contaminated Sites Regulations. This means assessment results have found some of the environmental quality standards (Tier 1) listed have been exceeded and they have been formally reported under the regulations. The Contaminated Sites Regulations clarify the procedures around contaminated sites and ensure consistent management across the province. Once a site enters the Contaminated Sites Regulations, a long-term management plan is required.

The 2012 reports below are about detailed testing done in 2010 at five of the nine provincial sites.

2012 Crown Site Reports

Testing to Date

Testing to date has found little to no migration of contamination beyond the immediate disposal area, and there is no evidence of impacts to private properties.

The purpose of testing was to determine if there were any petroleum impacts of concern in the soil, groundwater and surface water at these sites. Overall, risks to human health and the environment are low at all nine sites, as most of these sites are located in somewhat remote areas, and the material is a mixture of heavy oil and soil that does not move easily in the environment.

Long-term management of the sites was recommended, through monitoring and maintenance. All the provincial Crown sites have been inspected, identified for mapping purposes and evaluated for risk.