‘The Battle Rages On!’ The Scoop Aug-Sept 2013

August 11 | Posted by Jeff | News

The Scoop Cover smallThe Scoop has been following the landfill issue and in the Aug-Sept 2013 edition published this article.

Follow The Scoop on-line at http\\www.thescoop.ca

The Battle Rages On!

We live here because we love it here. We love the natural beauty of our forests and fields, and the clear healthy air and water of our lakes and rivers. Most of us have had a relatively small negative impact on the land. But, we have learned not to take all of this for granted. The world’s largest garbage company, Waste Management, have a billion dollar business opportunity here and there are some people who think we should encourage them.

Our economy is not the best and the opportunity to supply trucks, gravel and such is attractive. The company is a big donator to local causes. It is asking us to turn a blind eye to the potential damage to our environment when there is the hope for money to be made. The company sales pitch has influenced some area politicians. This scenario is common to environmental disasters elsewhere in our country.
This is a pretty scary situation. The false argument that a mega-dump here would be positive for our health, reputation, real estate values, and ability to attract new citizens has been accepted by some. Hard to believe.

A dedicated team of volunteers has been working on making sure the Richmond Landfill is properly closed and monitored and to prevent the establishment of a new mega-dump on the same leaky land. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has called this “Possibly the worst place for a landfill in Ontario”. With the help of the celebrated environmental lawyer Rick Lindgren, the group has scored some major successes. In 2006 the Minister of the Environment refused Waste Management’s first application for a mega-dump. In 2010 the MOE ordered Richmond Landfill closed. In 2012 the Concerned Citizens were granted Leave to Appeal the terms of the Environmental Monitoring Plan that Waste Management had proposed and the MOE had approved. In 2013 as part of the ongoing Environmental Review Tribunal the company and MOE have signed agreements that acknowledge that the dump is leaking, and that further investigation is required to know the extent of the leaking and to develop proposals for how to contain it.

Every landfill produces leachate. This is a highly toxic liquid that contains thousands of chemicals. Literally everything that goes in the dump leaches out in this liquid. Think of old medication, think of industrial waste, think of old batteries, think of ….
The real danger is that this poison finds it’s way into the ground water, household or farm wells and then the rivers and lakes. It poses a real danger.

As noted in a previous SCOOP article leachate from the dump is trucked daily to an intake behind Napanee District Secondary School. Through the Napanee sewer system, it is delivered to the sewage treatment plant. Sludge from this plant has been finding it’s way to local farmer’s fields and eventually into our food chain. Yikes!

It leaks! After years of denial by Waste Management and the Ministry of the Environment, there is finally a formal acknowledgement that it leaks. Something must be done to find out where it’s going, contain it and prevent further damage.
Evidence of leaking has been found in the data that has been collected by Waste Management over the years. How could they have been denying these leaks for so long? How could the MOE have accepted these denials? These are difficult questions.

As recently as this April a Waste Management ad that appeared in the Beaver and Guide claimed ‘There is no risk to public health or the environment’. Wow!

So the battle rages on. The dedicated Concerned Citizens group has received fantastic support as $20,000 was raised in a raffle to help pay for technical experts. (More is needed). With the help of these experts, they are winning the war of science. All experts now agree that the site is complex and difficult to monitor. There is no question that the site’s fractured bedrock is not a safe place for a mega-dump. Detailed contingency plans are being developed, and new protocols are in place for odour management and public notification.

Just recently, the Concerned Citizens, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and the Canadian Environmental Law Association have collaborated to request Ontario Regulations to be amended to prevent the siting of new landfills or the expansion of existing landfills on geologically unsuitable locations like fractured bedrock. The application also requests that a new regulation would prohibit applications for landfills on or adjacent to sites that have had previous landfill applications declined for environmental reasons. If these requests are granted the Richmond Landfill battle would finally be over!

The final choice to accept or reject the mega-dump, now branded ‘The Beechwood Road ENVIRONMENTAL Centre”, is a political decision. There is still much work to do to convince the politicians and their influencers. Those who would like to help or just keep up to date should check LeakyLand.com.

Tags: , , ,

Tell us what YOU think ...