Taking sediment samples

To reduce economic and environmental costs, the District of Squamish tested sediment in a nearby ocean channel for use as fill in a major waterfront redevelopment project.

If safe, sediment from the Mamquam Blind Channel would be a convenient source of filling to develop a park in a project by Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp. The project would transform a former 59-acre industrial site into a peninsula of neighbourhoods, parkland and beaches.

The sediment passed the purity tests, avoiding the need for 20,000 truckloads of material to be delivered from a site 15 kilometres away. It provides an environmentally friendly, less costly source of clean fill for the new development.


Environmental Economic Social
  • 230,000 m3of trucked-in fill replaced by safe-for-use ocean sediment near the site

  • 300,000 km of GHG-generating truck travel avoided

  • Sediment will form a clean cap over contaminated soil in former industrial site

  • Using sediment as fill eliminates trucking costs

  • Project site provides a place for sediment that must be dredged periodically to keep the channel navigable

  • New park will encourage tourism, recreation, commerce and economic development

  • 7.5-acre park will be created with sediment fill

  • A waterfront community will be developed with ample space for arts and cultural activities, sports and recreation, and a marina


  • Assuring sediment was free of mercury and hydrocarbon contamination from an old chlor-alkali processing plant.
  • Finding staff time for up to 70 hours of work in writing grant applications and reports.

Lessons learned

  • Review reports and interview former occupants of test sites to identify areas of potential contamination.
  • Where possible, use divers, not barge-based drill rigs, to collect sediment samples. They cost less and are more flexible.
  • Costly anti-pollution checks are worth the money; they clear the way for profitable economic redevelopment.


Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Heather Dunham
Manager, Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp.
District of Squamish, BC
T. 604-815-5075

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