Waste Management keeps environmental groundwater monitoring away from the public eye

Entrance to the Carp Road Landfill

Harold Moore is the proverbial watchdog for the Carp Road landfill and is also a member of COLA (Coalition for Landfill Accountability) and he brings to the community’s attention that Waste Management has “gone dark on their environmental monitoring for the past 4 years”. “Not a good way to instill confidence with the community,” Moore tells Stittsville Central.

The Carp Road landfill is also classified as a “significant groundwater recharge area”. The landfill on Carp Road is situated on fractured limestone a substrata that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (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 2006 classifies the solid waste landfill as “a significant drinking water threat”.

Annual Environmental Monitoring Reports on groundwater, submitted to the MOE by Waste Management of Canada (WM), clearly shows that since 2018, environmental monitoring results of the Carp Road Landfill have not been made public.

(Harold Moore shares the Environment Monitoring Compliance statistics for the Carp Road landfill that seem to have ‘dropped off the graph’ since 2018. Graphic: provided by Harold Moore)

The B-7 guideline, designed to facilitate implementation of the groundwater quality management directions contained in the “Water Management – Guidelines and Procedures of the Ministry of Environment and Energy,” document and applies to matters which fall under the authority of the Environmental Protection Act or the Ontario Water Resources Act.

To provide a more standardized approach to waste management projects, the Ministry of the Environment has developed new environmental assessment requirements for waste management projects which apply equally to public and private sector proponents. The new environmental assessment requirements provide for the protection, conservation, and wise management of Ontario’s environment by ensuring that the environmental effects of new waste management projects and/or changes to waste management projects are reviewed in a manner that is consistent with the potential significance of those projects. 

Moore shares, “Each year Waste Management of Canada is required to produce an annual report that presents the results of environmental monitoring for the Carp Road landfill. The reports outline the current state of groundwater contamination, assess the effectiveness of mitigation measures, and suggest additional measures if needed. These annual reports have been posted on the WCEC website since 2001 for public viewing. Starting in 2018, annual reports were no longer posted, leaving the public with no information on how well mitigation is working for the past 4 years.

When the Environmental Assessment was approved in 2013 for a landfill expansion at the site, there were conditions attached. One condition (number 8) requires that groundwater monitoring reports shall be publicly available on the WCEC website. As the attached figure shows, for the 17 years (2001-2017) little has changed in mitigation of groundwater contamination for one part of the off-site monitoring area (Contamination Attenuation Zone)”.

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 Road. In July 2014, the City of Ottawa approved WM’s request to rezone affected properties for the new landfill.

As work begins on the landfill expansion it is important to note that for the past 4 years the company has not been compliant with the Environmental Assessment approval, they received back in 2013. For the community to trust that the new landfill will be operated safely with minimum impacts on the environment and local standard of living, transparency and accountability are paramount. This is definitely not a good way to start,” stated Harold Moore.


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