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.