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 http://www.durhamregion.com/news/oshawa/article/178925

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 (http://www.oshawa.ca/agendas/Development_Services/2011/06-07-Special/%5CDS-11-217-IDOL-Site.pdf).

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): http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/land/limo/index.php

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.