Media Release

New Ministry Report concludes that Richmond Landfill is “Causing Offsite Groundwater Impacts”

Dec 18 2012

Toronto - Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has concluded that the Richmond Landfill Site near Napanee is “causing offsite groundwater impacts” in exceedance of Ministry guidelines. The Ministry has also concluded that this represents non-compliance with the environmental approval issued to the site owner, Waste Management of Canada Corporation.

The Ministry’s recent conclusions are based on monitoring data submitted by Waste Management in October 2012. After reviewing the data and other information, a Ministry hydrogeologist stated that:

“It is my opinion that the landfill has impacted groundwater at, and beyond, the southern property boundary (essentially Beechwood Road). These impacts exceed allowable limits according to Guideline B-7… As such, the site is in non-compliance with Guideline B-7 and its Environmental Compliance Approval.”

As a result of these findings, the Ministry has directed Waste Management to submit a “Compliance Action Plan” to the Ministry by December 21, 2012. The Ministry has indicated that the forthcoming Plan should describe “proposed remedial measures”, and “anticipated timeframes”, for bringing the Site into compliance with its environmental approval.

“My client concurs with the Ministry report, which finds that local groundwater is being impacted by the landfill,” said Richard Lindgren, a CELA lawyer representing the Concerned Citizens’ Committee/Tyendinaga and Environs (CCCTE). “The Ministry report also correctly identifies the difficulty in monitoring this complex, fractured bedrock location.”

“For years, Waste Management has denied that leachate contaminants were moving offsite, but the Ministry report confirms that offsite movement is occurring in excess of applicable limits, ” said Chief R. Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. “Since groundwater and surface water generally moves from the landfill towards Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, we are alarmed by the Ministry report and we call upon Waste Management to quickly address this unacceptable situation, and to withdraw its proposal for the Beechwood Road Environmental Centre. ”

The latest Ministry findings come at time when Waste Management is currently conducting a controversial environmental assessment of its proposal to construct an even larger landfill (Beechwood Road Environmental Centre) beside the Richmond Landfill, which closed in 2011.

“Our long-standing concerns about the unsuitability of this site for landfilling purposes have been validated by the new Ministry report,” stated Mike Bossio, Chair of the CCCTE. “In our view, Waste Management owes it to site neighbours and local communities to remediate the groundwater impacts from the Richmond Landfill, and to withdraw its proposal to build an even bigger landfill at this risky location.”

“The Council of Tyendinaga Township is concerned about the Ministry findings, especially because a number of Township residents live in close proximity to the Richmond Landfill,” said Rick Phillips, Reeve of the Township of Tyendinaga. “We believe that all necessary steps must be taken to protect the groundwater which supplies the wells used by these residents.”

For more information, please contact:
Richard Lindgren (CELA) 613-385-1686;
Mike Bossio (CCCTE) 613-396-6784;
Chief R. Donald Maracle (MBQ) 613-391-9249;
Reeve Rick Phillips (Tyendinaga Township) 613-477-3129

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