Environmental Tribunal to Hold Public Hearing on Leaking Landfill

April 6 | Posted by Jeff | The Leaky Land Blog

OntarmsThe much-anticipated public hearing on the leaking Richmond Landfill Site will commence next week before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. The hearing will commence on April 13, 2015 at 10:00 am in a conference room at the Travelodge Hotel in Belleville (11 Bay Bridge Road), and will continue for approximately three weeks.

The hearing was initiated by an appeal filed in 2012 by the Concerned Citizens Committee of Tyendinaga and Environs (CCCTE), which raised concerns about the inadequacy of environmental monitoring, contingency plans, and reporting obligations regarding the Richmond Landfill Site.

The landfill was closed in 2011, but it will continue to generate leachate (contaminated liquid) for decades. Recent investigations have confirmed that leachate from the Richmond Landfill Site has impacted the local groundwater, spread onto neighbouring private properties, and contaminated nearby residential water wells.

“All hearing parties agree there is evidence that leachate is migrating off-site from the Richmond Landfill and causing off-site groundwater impacts,” said Richard Lindgren, a CELA lawyer representing the CCCTE. “Therefore, the Tribunal’s hearing will focus on how far the leachate plume has moved, what chemical compounds are present in the leachate, and what should be done to address this environmental mess.”

Aside from the CCCTE, the other hearing parties include: Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change; Waste Management of Canada Corporation; Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte; and Napanee Green Lights. An owner of one of the contaminated water wells is also participating in the Tribunal hearing.
The CCCTE case will include expert evidence from a hydrogeologist who will review the leachate contamination issues in considerable detail, and from a toxicologist whose testimony will focus on 1,4-Dioxane, which is a potential carcinogen that is present in the leachate plume emanating from the Richmond Landfill Site

“Our long-standing concerns about leachate contamination have been validated by recent field work conducted by Waste Management itself,” stated Mike Bossio, Chair of the CCCTE, who will also testify as a witness at the Tribunal hearing. “We look forward to presenting our case to the Tribunal to ensure accountability and environmental protection.”

“The contamination from the Richmond Landfill has been of great concern to our community for many years,” said Chief R. Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. “Recent investigations have proven that leachate contaminants in groundwater have migrated beyond the landfill’s boundary. Groundwater and surface water flows from the Richmond Landfill towards and through the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and many of our drinking water wells can be affected. It has been a very prolonged and expensive process trying to get Waste Management to take the steps necessary to safeguard human health and environmental quality in our community. In our view, this hearing must allow us to reach that goal.”

After considering the evidence and submissions at the hearing, the Tribunal will make a legally binding and enforceable decision regarding the Richmond Landfill Site.

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