Fort McMurray Tar Island – 3.5 acre Collection Pond

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Suncor consulted RMC to help find a cost effective and efficient alternative method to using large earth moving equipment to clean up bitumen from Collection Ponds.

RMC proposed lining the pond with a very tough and smooth spray-on coating that could simply be cleaned up by washing the area with pressure washers.  EF-1990 was selected because it could easily withstand the intense pressure from the fire hoses and gritty water used to wash the liner.  Plant operations personnel can now wash the area with pressure washers/fire hoses, collect the bitumen, remove it with vacuum trucks and then have it recycled.  This solution eliminated the need to have earth moving equipment and provided an effective and efficient way of removing the collected bitumen.


Suncor’s construction schedule was a very tight 15 day shutdown.  Rain during the construction phase created project delays resulting in only 10 days for RMC to spray 130,000 sq. ft.  Time was running out and the project needed to be completed on time.  To ensure completion, RMC set up an environmental air structure (20,000 sq ft) on the site so the crew could pre-spray long strips of coating to be installed later.  The environmental air structure was the perfect solution for rain delays and scheduling concerns. RMC sprayed the majority of the pond coating onto 100 ft x 15 ft geotextile strips. Spraying inside allowed perfect working conditions for this enormous project.  Once the weather and scheduling allowed, the polyurethane strips were moved into the pond and placed with a skidsteer. The strips were then sprayed together to create a monolithic liner that was 3.5 acres in size!

To guarantee the completion date, RMC was installing their pre-sprayed strips while the earth moving equipment was completing the pond. RMC completed this sizable project one day after the last earth mover left the site and one day ahead of schedule!