November 6, 2013

Article in Oshawa This Week - Sept 27/12

This landfill mining initiative does not relate to the IDOL landfill (it only applies to the sites under the Region of Durham jurisdiction), but is interesting news as it involves taking steps to repurpose landfills for recreational use in the Region.

Durham to start landfill mining by 2014
Goal is to convert garbage dumps into recreation spots

By Jillian Follert
September 27, 2012
Oshawa This Week

DURHAM -- Years from now, Durham's landfills could be playgrounds and soccer fields.

That's the vision Region of Durham staff is working towards as it advances plans to start "landfill mining." The concept sees material excavated from landfills and sorted into soil, recyclables, combustible materials and residual waste. Soil can then be remediated and the site refilled.

The plan comes at a time when many incineration opponents are questioning whether there will be enough garbage to feed the new Clarington energy-from-waste facility -- especially as Durham moves towards a target of 70-per cent waste diversion.

Mirka Januszkiewicz, the Region's director of waste management, says landfill mining will "close the loop" by turning landfills into usable community space and sending excavated waste to the incinerator.

In many communities, mining is done to create more space in jam-packed landfill sites, but Durham is pursuing the idea to repurpose the sites.

"The hope is that we can turn the landfills into recreation properties," Ms. Januszkiewicz says. "We are not doing this to create more space in the landfill, we are doing this to clean it up."

When the Region of Durham was established in 1974, seven municipal landfills came under its jurisdiction.
The plan is to start mining with the smallest one -- Cartwright landfill, located in Blackstock.

Regional council approved the idea in principle last year. 

The procurement process for a contractor is expected to start by fall 2013 with mining slated to begin by late 2014 or early 2015.

If the Cartwright site is a success, staff plans to continue with the Scott landfill in Uxbridge.

The Region is currently spending about $150,000 a year to maintain the seven landfills under its care, including water sampling and seepage repairs.

The cost of mining the Cartwright landfill is estimated at $390,000. 

Staff said the Region's larger landfills would likely be more expensive, but could also produce more recyclable metal which offsets the price tag.

November 4, 2013

Article in The Oshawa Express - Oct 8

All quiet at former landfill

By Geoff Zochodne/The Oshawa Express
October 8, 2013

Located in the northeastern part of Oshawa, sitting beside a City dog park, lays the site of a former industrial landfill.

A recent report to the City’s Development Services Committee provided an update on the ex-dump. In short, not much is going on at the old garbage pile, including any development or environmental damage.

A letter from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) triggered the report, more than two years after the City wrote the province for input.

The City brought in Golder Associates to test the landfill site in 2011 for risks to public health and safety. Their report found that “there is no evidence that the former IDOL Site is currently causing an ‘adverse effect’” under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act.

Golder recommended “additional monitoring, assessment, surveying and other work should be done at the site notwithstanding its opinion that no material adverse impacts are occurring at this time.” The cost to the City for the report was $1,500.

After City council received Golder’s findings, the City made a formal request to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for comments on the report and its recommendations.

That was in June 2011. The MOE responded midway through September of this year.

Phil Dunn, senior environmental officer for the York Durham District of the Ministry wrote a letter to the City apologizing for the delay and stating he was “in general agreement with the conclusions and recommendations.”

Dunn wrote, “The Ministry may consider an amendment to the Provisional Certificate of Approval that includes the monitoring and maintenance programs developed for the site.” He also advised the City he would be inspecting the landfill site and collecting surface water samples from Harmony Creek in “late September/early October.”

The Development Services Committee couldn’t help but notice the MOE’s slow response time.

“We’ve been monitoring this site for a number of years,” says Councillor Doug Sanders.  “I think the ministry needs to step up to the plate and monitor a little more.”

The MOE tested the site in 2011 and there were “no concerns,” says Development Services Commissioner Tom Hodgins. “The samples were reasonably positive. In the surface water we’ve never really had a significant reading to date.”

The Industrial Disposal Oshawa Landfill (IDOL) is located near the end of Rossland Road East near Grandview Street North, just south of the Harmony Valley Dog Park.

Golder’s report states the spot began its life as a commercial sand and gravel extraction pit. In 1957 it was converted into a landfill.

“Approximately 1,000,000 tonnes of industrial waste was landfilled in the Site between 1957 and 1980,” notes the report. It formally closed in 1985, and the MOE responded by issuing a certificate of approval to govern its future operations.

“It is again not fully clear as to what corporate entities may have contributed waste to the IDOL Site, although it is understood that General Motors of Canada utilized the Site for disposal of various waste materials generated in its Oshawa operations,” says Golder.

The site was sold in 1999, and again in 2003. Golder said there have been several other reports done on the landfill in the past, and in reviewing them they discovered some of the “landfill leachate” has begun to bleed through the southern slope of the site “in varying degrees” dating back to 1977 and beyond.

The landfill has recently been sold once more, says Hodgins. What the owners intend to do with the property is unknown.

“Right now we don’t have any actual development applications on the property,” he says.

The report on the landfill was received for information, with a reminder staff will continue to keep the Development Services Committee and council apprised of the situation and MOE correspondence.

Release of Back/Harmony/Farewell Creek Watershed Management Plan - January 2013; Development Services Committee meeting - Sept 30

In January 2013, the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority released the Black/Harmony/Farewell Creek Watershed Management Plan. This purpose of this plan is "to be the definitive tool used by CLOCA, municipalities, planning authorities, agencies and all other stakeholders to guide decisions regarding the effective management of watershed resources in response to a changing environment". This document can be found online at

The Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Landfill was on the Agenda of the September 30th meeting of the City of Oshawa's Development Services Committee Meeting:

That the Development Services Committee recommend to City Council:
That Report DS-13-231 dated September 25, 2013 be received for information and staff continue to provide the Development Services Committee and Council with Ministry of Environment correspondence and findings regarding the IDOL site.

This 73-page report is available at It contains previous reports and provides an update on the site. On September 30, 2013 City staff received an update from the Ministry of Environment (page 72-73) the owner and company name for the site have changed, and that the MOE will be inspecting the landfill and collecting surface water samples from Harmony Creek in late September/early October.

In the minutes from this meeting, this Recommendation was Carried by the following vote:
Moved by Councillor Pidwerbecki,
“That the Development Services Committee adopt the recommendation contained in Report DS-13-231.” CARRIED

Oshawa City Council met on October 15, 2013 and also Carried this recommendation:
Recommendation (CARRIED–See Page 376)

That Report DS-13-231 dated September 25, 2013 be received for information and staff continue to provide the Development Services Committee and Council with Ministry of Environment correspondence and findings regarding the Industrial Disposal Oshawa Landfill (IDOL) site.

April 24, 2012

Update from the City of Oshawa - Jan 11

On January 11, 2012 the Commissioner of Development Services at the City of Oshawa sent the Development Services Committee a public report title "Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited (IDOL) Rossland Road East and Grandview Street North Area". This was raised at the Committee's meeting on January 16.

The report provides an update on the site, and can be found at

The report includes the most recent (November 2011) monitoring data from sampling by the Ministry of Environment. Based on the sampling and analysis, MOE staff concluded:
- The results for surface water quality in the creek (SW1-SW4) are consistent with previous samplings and do not indicate an impact to the creek.
- The seep sampling results appear to indicate a minor landfill influence - elevated concentrations of chloride and iron were detected in the samples.
- These parameters are non-health related and are typically used as indicators of possible landfill leachate impacts.

The report also mentions that the Ministry of Environment has advised the City that it is engaged in discussions with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) regarding possible remedial measures that the site owner could take to reduce the size and visual impacts of certain areas of seepage and iron staining.

At the January 16 meeting, the Development Services Committee recommend to City Council:
1. That Report DS-12-09 dated January 11, 2012 titled ‘Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited (IDOL), Rossland Road East and Grandview Street North Area’ be received for information; and,
2.That staff follow up with the Ministry of the Environment in respect to a response to Council’s June 13, 2011 direction/request.

(this request requested that the Ministry of the Environment advise the City in writing of its comments on the Golder report, the individual Golder recommendations for additional work and monitoring and whether the· MOE will amend the existing certificate of approval for the IDOL site to implement the recommendations or to otherwise require the owner of the IDOL site to implement the recommendations or monitor and maintain the site.)

June 9, 2011

Article in Oshawa This Week - June 9

Oshawa landfill poses no health risk: consultant

New report recommends beefed up monitoring for north Oshawa site

By Jillian Follert
Oshawa This Week
June 9, 2011

OSHAWA -- A new report says a controversial landfill in north Oshawa does not pose a public health threat.

The site has been a source of worry for neighbouring residents and local environmentalists after it started leaking a smelly, rust-coloured liquid in 2008.

Last year council hired a consulting firm to investigate the decommissioned landfill -- located near Harmony Road North and Grandview Street -- and offer an opinion on whether it poses a risk.

"We associate unpleasant visual and smells with something that is likely to be harmful," said Tom Mclelwain, who spoke to council members on behalf of Golder Associates. "But in reality there is no demonstrated adverse effect."

The reddish liquid that periodically stains the ground and creates a film on top of puddles and creek water is iron staining, he said.

Council's development services committee was brought up to speed on the status of the landfill at a special meeting Tuesday morning.

The landfill, bounded by Harmony Valley Park on one side and a large residential subdivision on the other, was formerly owned by Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited and operated from 1957 to 1980, when it was sealed.

When it was up and running, the 35-acre site accepted solid commercial and industrial waste, primarily from General Motors.

Mr. Mclelwain told council members there is "no documented record" of what went into the landfill over the years, but evidence suggests much of it was paper and other "normal" municipal type waste.

However, he also said potentially dangerous materials -- such as paints and solvents -- may have been dumped in 45-gallon drums.

Depending on when they were disposed of, the consultant said those drums may already have rusted and leaked their contents, or could potentially do so down the road.

"I'm really concerned, people are walking in that area, they're walking their dogs and their dogs are maybe drinking out of the creek," said Councillor Doug Sanders. "We don't know what's in there. It could be a cesspool and we don't know."

Ministry of the Environment officials have tested ground and surface water samples and have done visual inspections of the site and reported no troubling results.

Golder Associates also did its own testing and came up with the same findings.

"It's perfectly consistent with the type of leachate quality that you see at other landfill sites," Mr. Mclelwain said.

Councillor John Aker, who chairs the development services committee, said he is satisfied there is no threat.

"We have to depend on these expert organizations and what they have said," he noted. "It's in the hands of the Ministry of the Environment if they want to do anything more."

After the landfill was closed in the 1980s, the MOE issued a certificate of approval but did not require the owner to do any future monitoring or maintenance.

In contrast, any landfill closed today would have ongoing monitoring, inspections, site security and annual reports.

Because of the concerns raised over the site, Mr. Mclelwain said ministry officials now visit at least once a year and have convinced the owner to do some patching and repairs to prevent leachate from seeping out.

But the consultants say more should be done and list a series of recommendations in the new report.

They include installing a series of groundwater monitoring wells, using backhoe excavation to expose and assess the cover protecting the waste to determine whether it is sustainable and doing an elevation survey to create a topographic map of the site.

Golder Associates also recommends annual monitoring program and report and says the MOE should do an engineering evaluation of the existing leachate collection system.

The committee voted to send a copy of the consultant's report to the MOE and ask officials there to provide comment on the recommendations and clarify whether further monitoring and maintenance will be ordered.

Retrieved from

Development Services Committee meeting - June 7; Report from Golder Associates

The landfill was discussed at the June 7 Development Services Committee meeting. From the meeting minutes:

Tom McIelwain, Golder Associates Ltd. Concerning the Industrial Disposal Oshawa Landfill (IDOL), Rossland and Grandview Street North Area

Tom McIelwain, Golder Associates Ltd. addressed the Committee providing an overview of the history of the Industrial Disposal Oshawa Landfill (IDOL) site including its current and historic ownership and uses; a summary of the information known to Golder to exist regarding the IDOL property; a summary of the current understanding related to engineered containment systems; an opinion related to current environmental risk potential of the landfill and an opinion related to the future monitoring/maintenance of the site.

Tom McIelwain advised that his firm was retained by the City in 2010 to review the existing documentation related to the IDOL property and advised that the IDOL property was originally used for a commercial sand and gravel extraction and after the productive sand and gravel unit was fully exploited, the pit was converted into an industrial commercial landfill site. The delegate noted the landfill site was formally closed in 1985 and that an amended certificate of approval was issued by the Ministry of Environment to recognize the closure of the site, but no provisions requiring ongoing monitoring of the environmental status of the site were included. Tom McIelwain advised that it is not known what quantity and nature of waste was placed within the IDOL site.

The delegate provided an overview of the monitoring to-date conducted by various agencies and advised that the Ministry of Environment monitors the site on annual basis, noting no conclusive evidence has been found that would suggest the site has had an “adverse affect” on the Harmony Creek or the surrounding area. Tom McIelwain advised that ongoing monitoring is warranted and offered various recommendations on future monitoring and maintenance of the site.

The Committee questioned Tom McIelwain.

Moved by Councillor Pidwerbecki,
“That the order of the agenda be altered to consider Report DS-11-217, Industrial Disposal Oshawa Landfill (IDOL), Rossland Road East and Grandview Street North Area.” CARRIED

Moved by Councillor Pidwerbecki,
“That the Development Services Committee recommend to City Council:
1. That Report DS-11-217 dated June 2, 2011, be received for information; and,
2. That the Ministry of the Environment be provided a copy of the 2011 Golder Associates report on the Industrial Disposal Oshawa Landfill (IDOL) site in Oshawa (Grandview Street North/Rossland Road East) and be requested to advise the City in writing of its comments on the Golder report, the individual Golder recommendations for additional work and monitoring and whether the Ministry of Environment will amend the existing certificate of approval for the IDOL site to implement the recommendations or to otherwise require the owner of the IDOL site to implement the recommendations or monitor and maintain the site.” CARRIED


A public report, Industrial Disposal Oshawa Landfill (IDOL) Rossland Road East and Grandview Street North Area, is available on the City of Oshawa's website (

Dated June 2, this report was brought up at the June 7 meeting.

January 11, 2011

Improved transparency on Ontario's aging landfills?

ECO Aging Landfill Recommendation prompts MOE to take action
Posted on December 7, 2010

Source: Environmental Commissioner of Ontario's blog

Aging landfills are a longstanding issue for the ECO. Since opening our office in 1994, we have received hundreds of calls from the public concerned about the potential environmental harm resulting from small and aging landfills. Sharing their frustrations, we voiced our concerns regarding the lack of Ministry of the Environment (MOE) oversight of small and aging landfills in our 2006 Annual Report, and strongly urged MOE to create a publicly accessible inventory of all landfills in Ontario, and to update outdated Certificates of Approvals (C of A) for landfills. These findings were also echoed in the Auditor General of Ontario’s 2010 Annual Report, released yesterday.

We decided to revisit this issue in our 2010 Annual Report and found that our concerns regarding MOE oversight and transparency on landfills remained unresolved. The ministry had lost track of hundreds of aging landfills, which potentially threaten Ontario’s water and air quality. MOE was only inspecting 11 per cent of landfills with Cs of A, while approximately 1000 dumps that closed prior to the creation of MOE were, for the most part, forgotten. The public was still unable to access up-to-date information on landfills, despite MOE publishing an inventory in 1991. Furthermore, a process to update outdated landfill Cs of A still did not exist.

We are happy to learn that in response to the issues raised by both our office and the Auditor General, MOE has begun to work on some good initiatives to strengthen the oversight of aging landfills. Among these is a publicly accessible list of 2,400 Ontario landfills with Cs of A that has been added to the MOE website. This list will evolve so the information can be easily searchable. We have also been assured that monitoring, assessment, and reporting on compliance of landfills will all be improved over the coming months and years. Stay tuned for more information on MOE’s progress in meeting our recommendations and its own commitments for better oversight of landfills.


Following the link from the Environmental Commissioner's blog, you are taken to the Ministry of Environment (MOE) Landfill Inventory Management Ontario (LIMO):

Under closed landfills, it lists:
Certificate of Approval (CofA) information: A390102, Issued:05/01/1973
Site Information: Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Landfill
Client: Philips Services Inc.
Site Location: Part Lot 3, Conc 3
City of Oshawa
County, District or Region: Durham

The document containing details of an amendment to the original Certificate of Approval can be found on this site by searching the CofA A390102.