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The Department of National Defence completes largest environmental remediation project in Government of Canada History

March, 7, 2014 – Yellowknife, NWT – Department of National Defence

The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, today announced the completion of the clean-up work for the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, for the 21 sites under the purview of the Department of National Defence (DND).

The project, which represents a $575 million investment, is the largest environmental remediation project, both in scale and investment, ever undertaken by the Government of Canada. A 25-year monitoring program of the sites is also underway.

Quick Facts

  • The clean-up of debris and remediation of contaminated soils has been completed at all 21 former DEW lines sites. Some work remains at four of these 21 sites, and this includes the removal of temporary infrastructure, such as tents, which were used during the clean-up project.
  • DND initiated its plan to remediate the 21 DEW Line sites under its purview in 1989. The two phases of the remediation work (the construction phase and the first 5 years of monitoring) are forecasted to be completed at a cost of $575 million, within the planned budget of $583 million.
  • Since the early 1950s, Canada has relied on a radar network in the North to ensure the defence of North America and to monitor our sovereign airspace.
  • The most northerly of the networks, the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line of radar sites, was established in the late 1950s and extended along the Arctic coastline (roughly along the 69th parallel) from northwestern Alaska to Iceland. The 63 sites that made up the DEW Line, 42 were located within Canadian territory.
  • DND continued to use the 21 sites it operated until they were replaced by the North Warning System, in 1993.


“The completion of this project will be the largest remediation project, in terms of scale and cost, ever undertaken by the Government of Canada. This project highlights our commitment to the environment while providing economic benefits to northern communities through Inuit and Inuvialuit employment and contracting opportunities.”
The Honourable Tony Clement
President of the Treasury Board

“The Dew Line Clean-Up Project represents a significant cooperative accomplishment between the Government, Inuit, Inuvialuit and industry. This project is an example of the Department of National Defence’s acting as a proud environmental steward, and our ongoing dedication to the health and future of the Canadian North.”
The Honourable Rob Nicholson
Minister of National Defence

Johanna Quinney
Press Secretary to the Minister of National Defence
Office of the Minister of the Department of National Defence
(613) 996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: (613) 996-2353
Toll-Free: 1 866 377-0811


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