Landfill and conservation cleanup of two old Collins Bay Institution disposal sites

Historical Overview

As part of the Government of Canada’s Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), in consultation with Environment Canada, Health Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, thoroughly studied two areas southeast of Collins Bay Institution that were used by CSC as waste disposal sites from the 1950s to the 1980s. The first area is located immediately adjacent to a tributary of the Little Cataraqui Creek Wetland System. The second area is located immediately north of Front Road. The second area was a quarry where limestone was extracted for use as building material for the Collins Bay Institution, and was subsequently backfilled with waste material. Both sites are thought to contain primarily construction and institutional waste such as debris, concrete, brick, asphalt, coal, cinder, plastic, wood, rebar, metal and paint chips mixed with soil and limestone backfill.


A historical image of a Old Collins Bay Quarry, 1936. Old Collins Bay Quarry, 1936


A historical image of a Old Collins Bay Quarry, 1936. Old Collins Bay Quarry, 1936

The Studies

CSC has regularly studied and monitored both waste disposal sites on the Collins Bay institution property. These studies determined the type and extent of contamination at the sites, and assessed the risk that both areas pose to the environment and human health. Based on the results of these reports, in 2013, CSC commissioned a study to select the best method to close both waste disposal sites. CSC determined that each site required remediation to ensure they do not pose any risk to people or the environment. The study also determined that removing the waste from the wetland area and incorporating it into quarry waste site was the most environmental and economical option.


The old wetland site was backfilled with construction waste, beginning in the 1950s. Remnants of the construction backfill were still visible when this picture was taken in 2013.
The old wetland site was backfilled with construction waste, beginning in the 1950s. Remnants of the construction backfill were still visible when this picture was taken in 2013.

The Cleanup

The quarry waste site has been covered with a special membrane (geotextile) to ensure the waste is contained and does not pose any risk to people or the environment. As well, the waste debris previously located close to the wetland area has been removed. This area is expected to recover and be reclaimed by the existing wetland system.

The wetland area rehabilitation was designed in consultation with the Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The wetlands created by this project will expand the area of the floodplain by over a hectare, which helps compensate for some filling of the wetland system that has occurred as part of other City of Kingston projects in the area.

With the removal of the waste debris near the wetland, the area is expected to see improved ecological function and will provide additional habitat for the local wetland species. Native trees were also planted throughout Collins Bay Institution property to compensate for any mature trees that were removed as part of this remediation project.

Remediation activities took place from September to December 2014. A few outstanding activities will be addressed in the Spring of 2015, such as the placement of topsoil, grading and hydroseeding. To support and confirm the ecological recovery of the area, CSC will monitor the site on an ongoing basis.     


Restoration work is currently underway to remove the waste products and remediate the wetlands, 2014
Restoration work is currently underway to remove the waste products and remediate the wetlands, 2014

More Information

For further information about this project, please contact Collins Bay Institution at (613) 536-6094, or contact CSC with a written inquiry.