Steve Medd on why you should care about the Richmond Landfill and the BREC megadump proposal

May 30 | Posted by Jeff | The Leaky Land Blog

Steve MeddRecent scientific evidence (agreed to by the Ministry of Environment) has established that the Richmond Landfill is leaking leachate into the groundwater far off-site. Leachate has contaminated 6 off-site private domestic wells, which together with a significant swath of countryside are contaminated to above limits of the Ministry of the Environment’s Reasonable Use Policy. The contaminated groundwater contains numerous chemicals, including an industrial chemical called 1,4 dioxane which has been classified by the US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable carcinogen.

The leaking Richmond Landfill and the proposed massive BREC Landfill pose a clear and present threat to the future of Greater Napanee and our closest neighbours: Tyendinaga Township, Deseronto and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has called it arguably one of the worst places in Ontario to build a landfill because of the complex fractured bedrock

Polluting activities like massive landfills will attract other polluting industries. The lands that they occupy and adjacent lands become sacrifice zones, which suffer ongoing air quality and water quality impacts. The Richmond Landfill is contaminating a groundwater aquifer that was once used for residential purposes and agricultural purposes like irrigation and watering livestock.

The economic lifespan of BREC is 20 years. The contaminating lifespan of BREC is hundreds of years. Our agriculture and tourism industries have longevities measured in generations – so why would we undermine these long term enterprises for the sake of 20 years of short term profit, which would be flowing to a US-based company?

Leachate from the Richmond Landfill is presently trucked into Napanee, pumped into the sewer system and then processed at the Napanee Water Pollution Control Plant. The provincial government only requires the analysis and treatment of a small percentage of the tens of thousands of chemicals found in leachate.

As the eastern gateway to the Bay of Quinte, Greater Napanee is blessed with four beautiful waterways: the Napanee River, Long Reach, Hay Bay and Adolphus Reach. These waters bring economic benefits to our community as well as great pleasure to fisherman, boater and hikers. Why then would we allow untreated leachate chemicals to slowly build up in the water and sediments of these natural treasures?

Over the years many people have invested their heart and soul, time and money into making Napanee a vibrant sports town and a place of healthy living. Many other people have committed themselves to building a top-calibre hospital we know as the Lennox and Addington County General Hospital, another beacon of healthy living.

The starting point for good health is nature’s infrastructure: clean water, air and soil. If we take a healthy environment for granted when deciding what developments to support, then we undermine important priorities like sustainable economic development, cultural development and the promotion of healthy living.

Napanee can do its part in managing waste by enhancing residential composting and recycling; and by attracting private investments to build a regional material separation facility or enclosed composting facility. However, the complex fractured bedrock in our region makes it an unwise and unhealthy choice for massive landfilling.

Stephen Bruce Medd
Greater Napanee

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