The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency has answered hundreds of questions from the public and the joint review panel about the environmental impact statement on its plan to clean up the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens sites. The questions are contained in 55 submissions from the public, and an additional 34 from the federal review panel which will conduct public hearings on the environmental impact statement this spring. Each submission contained multiple questions. Wilfred Kaiser, acting director of environmental services was assisted by teams from AMEC and Earth Tech, two engineering firms involved in providing support to the preparation of responses. A team of two dozen experts worked day and night, over two weeks, to answer all the questions by the March 2 deadline. “It’s really encouraging to see that so many people took the time to read the environmental impact statement,” said Frank Potter, acting CEO of the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency. “It shows the high level of interest people have in the cleanup. Their questions will help us refine our plan, and make it better.” Mr. Potter said the questions came from a broad spectrum of the public, and while many questions submitted related to the proposal to incinerate PCB contaminated material, many more dealt with a wide range of topics. The review panel must now evaluate the responses provided by the agency, to determine whether they have enough information to proceed to panel hearings. Once the panel is satisfied it has the information it needs, it will give 21 days notice of the start of the public hearings. It is possible public hearings could begin as early as April. The panel’s final report is due on June 30.