The Whig reports that ‘Group says tests show wells contaminated’

January 20 | Posted by Jeff | News, The Leaky Land Blog

Richmond Landfill Near NapaneeBy Meghan Balogh, Napanee Guide
Monday, January 13, 2014 6:34:05 EST PM
KINGSTON – Recent testing at properties surrounding the closed Richmond Landfill site has found concerning levels of a carcinogenic chemical in groundwater wells on neighbouring properties, says the Concerned Citizens Committee of Tyendinaga and Environs (CCCTE).

The elevated levels of 1,4 dioxane discovered in wells on properties south of the Richmond Landfill, owned and managed by Waste Management, were discovered through recent testing mandated by the Environmental Review Tribunal’s ongoing mediation of a legal challenge between Waste Management, the CCCTE, and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

“In spite of Waste Management’s numerous past claims to the contrary, the off-site leachate leakage has occurred for many years and contaminated residential wells,” said hydrogeologist for the CCCTE, Wilf Ruland. “The company had monitored the site and missed it entirely.”

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief R. Donald Maracle is worried for his community’s safety in light of the leakage identified at the landfill.

“There are 600 homes in our community that are reliant on groundwater wells,” said Maracle, at a press conference in Napanee on Jan. 13. “The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte are within the watershed of the Richmond Landfill site. There are three streams at least that can impact our territory….Waste Management denied for several years that there was any off-site contamination. The recent test results confirm that there has been. My concern is the protection of the environment, the protection of human health, the protection of the traditional way of life (of our people).”

Waste Management continues to work towards their proposed Beechwood Road Environment Centre, which would feature a much larger landfill project.

The CCCTE maintains that the site is unsuitable for any landfill activity, due to its geographical makeup and the fact that, in fractured bedrock such as is found underneath the Richmond Landfill site, leachate contaminants can travel quickly and unpredictably.

In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Richmond Landfill site manager Randy Harris commented on the recent groundwater test results.

He said that Waste Management has installed new monitoring wells south of the landfill site so that if leachate continues to spread, they will be the first to know and respond.

“We have a good understanding of the groundwater out here,” said Harris. “We’ve done extensive groundwater testing south of the landfill and we are continuing to do testing.”

Harris said that people need to know that no current residents have had problems with their well water in the vicinity of the landfill except for one resident. Any land contaminated south of the landfill has been purchased by the company to mitigate the problem.

“There was one resident and we supplied him with a whole house water supply, town water brought out and put in tank we installed.”

In response to CCCTE’s request that BREC be taken off the table, Harris said that Waste Management inherited the Richmond Landfill’s problems and that the new landfill will go above and beyond 21st century regulatory requirements.

Harris said that local residents should be aware that Waste Management is handling the situation.

“We know where the groundwater flow is. We know how far it’s gone. We’ve got wells in place now that we’ll know if it goes farther.”

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