Stephen Medd Reacts to Waste Management Public Information Session.July 8 | Posted by Heather | Letters & Comments
To the Editor:
Despite Waste Management’s efforts over the last 14 years to try to convince people that they are the owners of the “facts” nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is their last attempt to expand the Richmond Landfill was turned down in 2006 by the Minister of Environment because they did not understand the complex geology of the site, even after nearly a decade of trying. The Minister agreed with the facts put forth by the citizens and their experts.
During the last expansion attempt people were told that the landfill was not leaking because the bedrock was as tight as pavement. In 2012 the company is now promoting a geological conceptual model that is the complete opposite of what they had previously supported. They now believe the fracture system of the site is so well connected that they can easily detect and capture any moving leachate by wells separated tens to hundreds of metres apart. By any measure, such a dramatic flip-flop of understanding after such a long period of getting it wrong is a cause for concern and skepticism.
The on-going hearings of the Environmental Review Tribunal into the soundness of Waste Management’s Richmond Landfill site licence will assess the company’s understanding of hydrogeology and monitoring in order that the existing landfill can be safely closed. In allowing an appeal to proceed, the Tribunal stated that, “The Tribunal finds that the landfill either is currently producing or could produce significant harm to the environment.” This is strong language which lines up with what concerned citizens and surrounding communities have been saying for 14 years.
If anything, this story should demonstrate the complex geology of the Richmond Landfill site; the risk to the water which people and livestock rely on for drinking; and the lack of wisdom by Waste Management in trying again to build a megadump on fractured bedrock in Napanee.
Stephen Bruce Medd