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|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | December 7, 2017
The Township of Minden Hills has been slapped with its second Provincial Officer’s Order in about five months’ time at the Scotch Line landfill.
Issued Nov. 30, it comes on the heels of the township still trying to comply with an original order handed to them on June 19. That one cited leachate concerns and improper material in a too-large waste and demolition pile.
This time around, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) isn’t happy about the storage and slow removal of hazardous waste items.
Last Thursday’s order prompted a special council meeting Monday at which Mayor Brent Devolin said, “I wasn’t very happy when I saw this Thursday afternoon.”
Ivan Ingram, the township’s environment and property operations manager, brought the order to council for discussion and Highlands Environmental, which is contracted by the municipality at the site, also had representation at the meeting. Ingram admitted to being slapped on the wrist for not providing paperwork to the MOECC as well, which is represented by the Peterborough district office, senior environmental officer, Gary Muloin, who issued the order.
“That’s my bad. I never got trained on how do that,” Ingram said.
But the larger issue, according to the order, stems from what they observed Oct. 19, and during subsequent site visits. “Materials such as waste paint, waste oil, waste compressed gases, waste batteries and waste pesticides being stored outdoors (on the ground) at the site.” They further noted, “some of the containers of waste oil were not properly secured with a lid, and containers of pesticides were observed to be laying on the ground.”
They further wrote in their order that the area was not fenced, more material was there than permitted, and some was not stored properly. After that Oct. 19 visit, the ministry requested the township take action to have the waste removed by a licenced waste carrier and disposed of at a licenced waste disposal site.
However, they said they visited Oct. 31, Nov. 6 and Nov. 14 “and noted that subject waste materials were being stored at the site in a similar manner to what was initially observed on Oct. 19, 2017.”
The township and ministry exchanged emails between Oct. 22 and Nov. 17, it was noted. A Nov. 20 township email said waste had been removed on Nov. 17 by Buckhorn Transport Limited. But the ministry visited Nov. 21 only to find a significant amount of waste remained. They demanded removal as soon as possible.
Township staff said Buckhorn would be back Nov. 29 to finish the job. On Nov. 30, the ministry was back at Scotch Line to watch Buckhorn load up. However, there was too much waste for one truckload and they would have to come back.
Ingram promised everything would be gone no later than Dec. 6. In its order, the MOECC said, “the remaining subject wastes must be removed from the site in order to avoid a spill of a contaminant which may result in an adverse effect.”
Ingram told council he had submitted an action plan going forward but did not know as of Dec. 4 if it had been accepted. He said in future, the township has to educate the public about not putting hazard waste in general garbage or leaving it at the gate. He said perhaps more hazardous waste days are needed. Devolin said the township may have to clamp down on those who bring hazardous waste to the dump outside of hazardous waste days.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.