Ministry Lays Charge Against Waste Management for Leak at Richmond Dump

February 13 | Posted by Heather | News

Canadian Environmental Law AssociationToronto - Recent inspections by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) of the stormwater management facility at the Richmond Landfill near Napanee have resulted in the issuance of a Provincial Officer’s Order and a Provincial Offences Notice against Waste Management of Canada Corporation (WM).

The Provincial Officer’s Report regarding this matter states that:

- MOE staff inspected the stormwater management facility on November 16 and 26, 2010, and identified “various deficiencies”;

- MOE staff re-inspected the facility on December 20, 2010 and “observed that the stormwater management facility was actively discharging impounded surface water from the outlet structure eventually leading off-site to the Beechwood ditch”;

- “Due to the nature of operations at this site, stormwater may become contaminated through contact with on-site waste”;

- MOE staff then contacted WM, and “it was evident that the Company was unaware that the stormwater management facility at the Site was discharging from the outlet structure to the natural environment”;

- “Company staff confirmed by email on December 21, 2010 that the valve at the outlet had not been closed at the conclusion of the last planned discharge, November 25, 2010. The ministry was also informed on December 21, 2010 that the valve was now closed”;

- on January 5, 2011, the Provincial Officer “received an email from the Company that earlier in the day… the valve at the outlet structure of the stormwater management facility at the Site was showing ‘some slight leakage’”;

- on January 5, 2011, the MOE issued a Provincial Offences Notice (ticket) to WM “for failure to comply with the terms and conditions” of its Certificate of Approval;

- on the same date, MOE staff observed “a significant amount of water” discharging from the outlet structure, and MOE staff estimated “a discharge rate of over 20,000 litres per day”;

- after reviewing WM’s facility inspection logs, the Provincial Officer was not “confident that the Company is providing accurate information within an acceptable timeframe”;

- “Due to the recent non-compliance incidents relating to this Certificate described in this report, it is the opinion of the undersigned Provincial Officer that the inspection program for the stormwater management facility at the Site is deficient”; and

- on January 11, 2011, the Provincial Officer issued an order under the Environmental Protection Act to impose further requirements upon WM regarding inspection, maintenance and reporting in relation to the stormwater management facility.

“We are alarmed and shocked by this incident,” stated Mike Bossio, Chair of the Concerned Citizens – Tyendinaga & Environs (CCTE). “We are also concerned that no public notification was provided by WM to downstream property owners about the stormwater discharge.”

“In our opinion, this incident demonstrates that it is premature to even consider WM’s proposal to construct the new Beechwood Road Landfill beside the Richmond Landfill,” said Richard Lindgren, an environmental lawyer who represents the CCTE. “In our view, WM’s attention – and MOE’s regulatory efforts – should be solely focused on promptly closing the Richmond Landfill in an environmentally sound manner.”

“We are astounded that WM did not notify us about the significant leakage of its storm water pond and its operational failings,” said Chief R. Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. “We have always been concerned about off-site impacts since the surface and ground water at the dump site moves towards our community. We are concerned about potential health impacts on our residents. The Richmond site is not suitable for any landfill operations.”

“The Richmond site, past, present and future, has been a concern to Tyendinaga Township Council for many years. This is just further evidence that our fears and concerns are well- founded,” said Rick Phillips, Reeve of Tyendinaga Township. “This site has proven to be, time and again, an unsuitable location for a landfill operation, and this recent news only helps confirm this. We urge the Ministry of Environment to take any and all steps to protect the environment for future generations.”

For more information, please contact:

Richard Lindgren – CELA (613-385-1686)

Mike Bossio – CCTE Chair (613-396-6784)

Chief R. Donald Maracle – MBQ (613-396-3424)

Reeve Rick Phillips – Tyendinaga Township (613-396-1944)

Media Release By: Canadian Environmental Law Association

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