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Report, and strongly urged MOE to create a publicly accessible inventory of all landfills in Ontario, and to update outdated Certificates of Approvals (C of A) for landfills.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 Furthermore, a process to update outdated landfill Cs of A still did not exist.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.