September 23, 2010

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario releases Annual Report

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gord Miller, released his 2009/10 Annual Report on September 22, 2010. 'Redefining Conservation' is available online at

The full report contains a section on landfills:
Chapter 6 - Rethinking Waste
6.1 - Aging Landfills: Ontario's Forgotten Polluters
6.1.1 - Ontario's Old Dumps: Patch Them Up or Shut Them Down

The Supplement to the Annual Report contains a section on the Application for Investigation into the Harmomy Landfill.
Section 6: ECO Reviews of Applications for Investigation
6.1 - Ministry of Environment
6.1.1 - Alleged EPA Contraventions at a Closed Oshawa Landfill Site
Here (page 315 - 320) the landfill is discussed, covering Background/Summary of Issues, Other Information, Ministry Response, and ECO Comment.

Links to the PDF reports:
Full report:
Supplemental Report:

July 13, 2010

Oshawa City Council meeting - June 28

IDOL was on the City Council agenda on June 28, 2010. Very little details are listed in the meeting minutes:

Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited (IDOL), Rossland Road East and Grandview Street North Area (DS-10-140) (All Wards)

Recommendation (CARRIED – See Page 371)

That Report DS-10-140 dated June 9, 2010 regarding Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited, be received for information and that staff provide further updates as appropriate.

These meeting minutes can be found at

I believe this means that the June Report DS-10-140 from the Development Services Committee has been accepted by City Council. A link to this report can be found in my previous blog.

June 16, 2010

Article in Oshawa This Week - June 16

City pushing for update on controversial Oshawa landfill
Several reports, test results expected this fall

Oshawa This Week
By Jillian Follert
June 16, 2010

OSHAWA -- The City of Oshawa is working to get updated information on a sealed landfill that is an ongoing concern for local residents -- but it's slow going.

It was two years ago that environmental advocate Sarah Ross spoke to councillors about potential contaminants in the soil and water near a decommissioned landfill at Rossland Road and Harmony Road North.

Residents living near the site have complained about "orange goo" staining the ground nearby and an orange sheen on puddles of water, and last summer several Oshawa families reported their dogs became ill after walking near the landfill.

After Ms. Ross raised the alarm, councillors directed City staff to get more information from the Ministry of the Environment and Central Lake Ontario Conservation Area, but there haven't been any significant updates since.

Suzanne Elston, the City's senior environmental coordinator, said gathering this type of data typically takes awhile.

"When you're dealing with the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Commissioner, a private absentee land owner, CLOCA the City of Oshawa, things take time," she said. "But, I feel very confident that we're heading in the right direction."

In 2008, Ms. Ross and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper independently tested water and soil near the landfill and reported high levels of arsenic, aluminum, lead, copper and other contaminants, which could potentially leach into Harmony Creek and Lake Ontario.

They filed an application for investigation with the Province's environmental commissioner and the ministry of the environment agreed to launch an investigation in January 2009.

The ministry subsequently said there was no violation of the Environmental Protection Act, but agreed to test water from the landfill site and Harmony Creek.

MOE spokeswoman Kate Jordan says that work was completed, with no cause for concern.

"All the results have been safe," she said. "They haven't identified any off-site impact."

She also said there haven't been any orders issued to the owner -- Jim Sinclair, a Mississauga developer -- since he was required to do some cleanup work in 2009.

Mr. Sinclair could not be reached for comment.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper President Mark Mattson said more needs to be done to keep the public informed on the state of landfills like the one in Oshawa.

"While ongoing sampling at the site is essential, the efforts won't ensure environmental protection unless the public is part of the process," he said. "Transparency demands that the ministry make its sampling results public so that council and Oshawa residents have the information they need to make informed decisions about this, and other, closed landfills in their community."

Ms. Elston said the City expects to get much more information after council's summer recess, when several reports will be finished.

The office of the environmental commissioner has said information about the Oshawa landfill will be included in a report coming out this fall, while a UOIT graduate student who has been collecting samples from the site for two years plans to present findings to council's development services committee in the fall as well.

The City has also spent $1,500 to hire consultants to review all existing documents about the landfill and provide an opinion on potential health risks and the extent of environmental remediation required. That report is also due this fall.

The landfill was originally owned by Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited and operated from 1957 to 1980, when it was sealed.

While it was operational, the 35-acre site accepted about one million tonnes of solid commercial and industrial waste, primarily from General Motors. A 1992 Ontario Municipal Board decision said liquid waste dumped there included paint sludge, anti-freeze, brake fluid, hydraulic oils and isopropyl alcohol.

June 15, 2010

Development Services Committee meeting - June 14

Although responses were expected in the second quarter of 2010, the following remain on the DSC's outstanding items list:
- Sarah Ross - Requesting to Address Committee Regarding Leachate at the Harmony Creek Landfill
- Phil Dunn, Ministry of Environment - Summary of former Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Landfill (IDOL)

On June 14, the City of Oshawa Development Services Committee discussed the status of the landfill investigation at their meeting. Minutes from this meeting are available at, and are listed:

Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited (IDOL), Rossland Road East and Grandview Street North Area (All Wards)

This matter was previously discussed at the Development Services Committee meeting held on November 10, 2008 (DS-08-489) when staff was requested to monitor the Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited site and report back when appropriate.

The Committee now reviewed Report DS-10-140 dated June 9, 2010 from the Commissioner, Development Services providing information on matters related to the Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited (IDOL) site located in the Rossland Road East/Grandview Street North area.

Moved by Councillor Nicholson,
“That the Development Services Committee recommend to City Council:
That Report DS-10-140 dated June 9, 2010 regarding Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited, be received for information and that staff provide further updates as appropriate.” CARRIED

The public report from the Commissioner of the Development Services Department, dated June 9, is available at This status report discusses the history of the investigation, communication and current direction. This will now go forward to Council.

Among the details in this public report, various results are anticipated in the fall of 2010:
- The Environmental Commissioner's Office has advised City of Oshawa staff that a report on the IDOL matter will be included in the ECO's 2009-2010 Report which will be issued in Fall 2010
- A UOlT graduate student has agreed to present her findings on the IDOL site to the Development Services Committee when available in Fall 2010
- Golder Associates Limited, who have been hired to consolidate data and knowledge on the IDOL site, will finalize their report in September 2010