Annual Environmental Monitoring Reports on groundwater, submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) by Waste Management of Canada (WM), clearly show the site has exceeded Ontario environmental guidelines for the protection of groundwater. Presently, the site is still not in compliance with Ontario’s environmental regulations (see figure 1).
Despite exceeding regulation levels every year since 2001, the site was declared compliant by the MOE during their review of the Environmental Assessment for a new landfill. An MOE review of the 2012 data later reversed the earlier observations and declared the site non-compliant with the provincial guidelines. Is it possible that this new information on non-compliance was not passed on to the Minister of the Environment who was in final review of the Environmental Assessment prior to an approval decision?
“Would the Environmental Assessment have been approved if the Minister knew of the non-compliance?” asks Harold Moore, a DLOGTW volunteer. “It seems odd that, when the site has been non-compliant for years, that for one year (during the EA for a landfill expansion) it is deemed compliant even though data clearly indicates otherwise.”
In the Environmental Compliance Approval application, submitted by WM to the Ministry of the Environment August 20, 2014 the site is described by Waste Management as a “highly vulnerable aquifer” in source protection plans under the Clean Water Act 2006.
It is also classified as a “significant groundwater recharge area”. The new landfill on Carp Rd. is situated on fractured limestone a substrata that MOE says is highly vulnerable to groundwater contamination. Furthermore, the many fractures and fissures that are characteristic of limestone make containing or tracking the contamination almost impossible. The Clean Water Act classifies the solid waste landfill as “a significant drinking water threat”.
“How can the MOE, whose role is to protect the environment and the people of Ontario, give the go ahead to expand a dump that is so clearly a threat to the local environment and the people who live there,” says Moore.
“It would appear that Ministry officials either didn’t review the 2012 annual report in a timely way or purposely withheld the details of the review so the Minister was not informed about the non-compliance prior to a decision on the EA. The EA should never have been approved given that the proponent, WM, was clearly non-compliant with Ontario environmental regulation.”
Since 2006, WM has had to purchase over 125 acres of additional lands that were contaminated by the current landfill. WM has also been named in two lawsuits related to groundwater contamination, both of which were settled out of court. WM was never fined by the MOE for the contamination and violating Ontario environmental laws.
In August 2013, WM received approval for its Environmental Assessment to proceed with a new landfill on Carp Rd. In July 2014, the City of Ottawa approved WM’s request to rezone affected properties for the new landfill.
In order to proceed further, WM must also obtain a Site Plan approval from the City of Ottawa and Environmental Compliance Approvals from the MOE. These approvals are expected in the coming months.
For more information on the Don’t Let Ottawa Go to Waste Campaign, visit www.nodump.ca.