Nova Scotia

Company hiring for Tufts Cove oil spill cleanup

Contractors are looking for workers to assist with a cleanup after 5,000 litres of oil leaked into Halifax harbour at Tufts Cove earlier this month.

Cleanup of shoreline may take months, but Nova Scotia Power says a deadline hasn't been determined

One of the booms being used to clean up an oil spill from Tufts Cove power generating station in Halifax. (Robert Short/CBC)

It could be at least another week before Nova Scotia Power knows how long it will take to clear last week's oil spill at Tufts Cove.

Five thousand litres of oil leaked into Halifax harbour Aug. 2 and contractors are in the process of hiring more people to help with the cleanup.

According to Nova Scotia Power, there are about 65 people at the site using vacuum trucks and absorbent materials. Sixteen of those people are short-term labourers working to clean the shoreline.

Manual labour positions

MFR Oil Response is one of the companies contracted by Nova Scotia Power to do the cleanup work. Mark Ring, the company's president, said he's looking to hire more people to do manual labour at the site.

"We have main oil responders that are fully trained and constantly trained, constantly trained in operating all the equipment — the boats and skimmers and so on," said Ring.

"Once you get into a larger spill, we don't want to utilize these individuals for smaller tasks: moving absorbents, cleanup, just little stuff that needs to be done around the job site to keep things safe."

Rocks on the shoreline near Tufts Cove on Halifax Harbour. (Robert Short/CBC)

Training, safety gear provided

Ring said those hired will receive job training, safety training and will be provided with safety gear.

"After they're into their roles, then we bring in more bodies to fill in gaps and we keep going until we have the right number to make everything flow smoothly," he said.

No special skills are needed, but those applying must be at least 16 and be physically able and immediately available to do the work.

The pay works out to be $16.50 per hour and workers will be needed five days a week for the next one to three months.

Ring said he was able to pull together a crew immediately after the spill was reported, but is now tapping into those on employment insurance looking for work, the local Syrian refugee population and the general public.

"My wife and I and four families in the neighbourhood created a family of five where we fundraised and brought in a family ourselves so we've been involved with the Syrian refugee for about two years now," said Ring.

"So I know there are a lot of individuals that are around who are studying to learn English as a second language and get involved in the communities and they would like to get out to do some work, so we reached out to that group."

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