June 3, 2008

The investigation continues!

In my last conversation with the MOE, I was (again) told that there is nothing to be concerned about. Reports from 1982, 1993 and other various documents (protocols, maps, reports) were located at the MOE office in Ajax, but I am required to go there to view them.

The history and lack of concern over monitoring at the site remains bothersome to me. In my conversation with the Conservation Authority, they had very little information on the site and did not receive reports from the monitoring stations at this landfill. The Certificate of Approval for the site (reissued in 1985) did not require monitoring under the reasoning that it was not determined to be a large risk because of monitoring in the past. I was told that over time, leachates become weaker and less, and this is supported by monitoring from the mid-1990’s indicating no significant impacts. Even if the sampling from the site revealed no concern and was considered a low-moderate risk up to the 1990’s, could not the situation be changed over time? To me, the history of the site, and the lack of regulations for waste disposal back the in 1950’s to 1970’s, could pose a potential threat to the environment. See this record from 1976 found online, discussing imposed conditions over such issues as leachate overflow and disposal.

Cited as:
Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Co. v. Ontario (Ministry of Environment)

IN THE MATTER OF sections 77, 78 and 80 of The Environmental
Protection Act, 1971, as amended
AND IN THE MATTER OF a Ministry of the Environment Provisional
Certificate of Approval for a Waste Disposal Site located on
Part of Lot 3, Concession 3, City of Oshawa (former Township
of East Whitby), being Provisional Certificate No. 390102,
dated the 15th day of August, 1975 and issued to Industrial
Disposal (Oshawa) Company, P.O. Box 70, Hamilton, Ontario
AND IN THE MATTER OF an appeal dated the 8th day of September,
1975, by Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Company from the
conditions imposed by issuing the said Provisional Certificate
AND IN THE MATTER OF a hearing held by the Environmental
Appeal Board on March 3, 1976, May 5, 1976 and June 9, 1976

[1976] O.E.A.B. No. 10
Ontario Environmental Appeal Board
I.W. Pasternak, Q.C., Chairman
L.C. DeGroot and G.W. Ozburn, Members
Heard: March 3, May 5 and June 9, 1976
Decision: July 5, 1976
(2 pp.)
No counsel mentioned.

Upon motion made to this Board by the appellant for an adjournment of the hearing
regarding this appeal, and with the consent of the parties present, this Board hereby
orders that the hearing is adjourned until the 7th day of October, 1976 at 10:00 o'clock in the morning (local time) in the Canadian Legion Hall, V.I.P. Room, 471 Simcoe Street S., Oshawa, Ontario.

In granting this adjournment, the Board imposed the following conditions upon the

1. The appellant is to reconnect the pipeline to recirculate leachate to the bermed area on top of the site so as to prevent any leachate overflow. This action to be completed by June 18, 1976.
2. The appellant is to cover the present disposal area to the south including the slopes with two feet of compacted earth. This action to be completed by June 30, 1976
3. The appellant is to move the disposal area to the top of the site and restrict same to a minimal area. The area is to be prepared and flattened beforehand. Disposal to be commenced by June 18, 1976.
4. The appellant is to cover the new disposal area on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by 5:00 p.m. This action to commence by June 18, 1976.
5. The appellant is to unblock the drainage ditch on the west side of the site by June 30, 1976 and keep the ditch clear.
6. The appellant is to grade the slopes to the west and east and cover them with two feet of compacted earth. This action to be completed by August 31, 1976.
7. The appellant is to provide the Ministry of the Environment and the City of Oshawa with a copy of the hydrogeological study of the site by September 7, 1976.
8. Upon notice to this Board by the Ministry of the Environment that the above conditions have not been met, the hearing shall be resumed at the earliest opportunity.

I am happy to see the rate at which the article from Oshawa This Week has spread around the internet. My letter to the editor was published online yesterday on the paper's website, and I am hoping it will appear in the printed version on Wednesday because it is currently buried in under 'Other Letters'. I have copied it below:

More monitoring needed on Harmony Creek landfill site

Oshawa This Week online
By Sarah Ross
June 2, 2008

To the editor:
Re: 'Orange goo' worries residents, May 30.

I appreciate you bringing the issue of leachate at the Harmony Creek landfill site forward. In addition to the rust colour, in April I also noticed an oily sheen on the surface of the leachate. Given that industrial products were buried here, I am concerned about the possible presence of other toxic compounds (phenols, heavy metals).

Monitoring is apparently taking place by developers on a five-year basis on the west side of the landfill. This seems to be the only monitoring being done. But from an environmental perspective, that area is not the concern -- drainage and the visible leaching is to the south and east towards Harmony Creek.

I was informed there was limited monitoring in this area until the early 1990s -- this is not "periodical."

As indicated by Prof. Warith (Oshawa This Week on-line article May 30), leaching rates are highly variable depending on the season, rainfall, etc. Also, over time, they can increase. This suggests citizens require the results from a systematic and targeted monitoring program before we can be assured there are no concerns from this site.

I am continuing to seek answers and will update progress at http://harmonylandfill.blogspot.com/. If others are interested in helping me or have information, I can be contacted at harmonylandfill@gmail.com.

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