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Demolition of Lambton coal plant back on track, with operations running smoothly

Don Procter
Demolition of Lambton coal plant back on track, with operations running smoothly
OPG—The Lambton Generating Station in southwestern Ontario was one of the province’s last coal-fuelled plants. The structures, sprawling over a 1,300-acre site, had a power generating capacity of 1,976 MW at its peak. The plant is now being demolished.

The demolition of the coal-powered Lambton Generating Station in southwestern Ontario is back on track, with Montreal-based Delsan-AIM taking over from the original contractor JMX Contracting, which filed for insolvency in 2020.   

The scope of work includes removal of the power station, three 550-foot-tall concrete stacks and other tasks.

The site will be remediated to a brownfield condition, says Ontario Power Generation (OPG) spokesperson Neal Kelly. 

Work is expected to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023.

Before the powerhouse is imploded late this year, an asbestos and PCB abatement program will be done, says Kelly.

The structural steel building also requires the removal of four boilers to be sold as scrap metal.

The three concrete stacks are proposed to fall in the summer of 2022.

Noise and dust abatement is a top priority, says Kelly.

He adds all options of removal are still being evaluated before the implosion method is determined.

“You can safely bring down stacks with an implosion as long as you have a well-thought out plan, community buy-in,” he says, adding there can be health and safety concerns using alternatives to implosion.

“If you are bringing down stacks in pieces there are safety concerns because you have to have people (workers) up in the air on equipment.” 

As for implosion, to ensure the stacks fall precisely where they are planned to fall involves “engineering science” and some of the same principles used in falling trees.  

“You can put some base cuts in the concrete at certain angles because you want them to fall in a specific direction,” Kelly says.

At the Nanticoke Station, the two nearly 200-metre-tall stacks were imploded, falling into each other “exactly where they were supposed to go,” says Kelly. 

Nanticoke’s demolition was also done by Delsan-AIM. 

OPG is keeping the mayor and council of the St. Clair Township, the Indigenous community and other citizens in the region and across the St. Clair River in Michigan informed on demolition plans and it will conduct public meetings.

How to remediate several lagoons and ponds on site will be addressed during the Phase 3 environmental decommissioning project which is currently in the planning phase and will start execution in 2022, says Kelly.

Some of the ponds will remain after site decommissioning and some will be drained, remediated and filled per regulatory requirements.

The fixed-price demolition contract to Delsan-AIM is $23.6 million, based on the value of the scrap from the demolition. 

Kelly says a Hydro One switchyard for power to southwestern Ontario will remain on the site. There are no plans to date for the future use of the land.

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