An estimated 3,500 gallons of leachate was released in a wooded area at Napanee’s Richmond Landfill on Jan. 14, which has drawn the ire of several residents.
According to a report issued by Waste Management on Jan. 20, a driver transporting leachate to a temporary storage lagoon was instructed to dump the leachate (rain water that has passed through a landfill) in the wooded area due to fears the truck would get stuck in the mud leading up to the lagoon. Though the Beechwood Road landfill has been closed since 2011, leachate is still collected from the site and typically taken to be treated at the Napanee Waste Water Treatment Plant. On occasions of heavy rains when the treatment plant is at capacity, the leachate is pumped into a lined lagoon where it is stored until it can be hauled to the plant.
Ian Munro, chair of the Concerned Citizens Committee of Tyendinaga and Environs issued a release stating the incident was of ‘grave concern’ for several reasons.
“The dumping occurred close to the headwaters of Marysville creek which runs through Tyendinaga Township and onto Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Leachate contamination of the creek would threaten private wells, wildlife, livestock and residents,” Munro said in the release.
The group also noted Waste Management didn’t notify them of the Jan. 14 leachate release until Jan. 20, which they say violates the compulsory Public Notification Plan, which states the public must be notified within 36 hours of an event.
“The safety of others is our top concern,” said Jessica Kropf, manager of communications with Waste Management. “At this point we aren’t aware of any off site impacts but we are performing a full investigation, taking steps to examine any potential offsite leachate effects.”
“WM does not condone (dumping leachate outside of the storage lagoon),” added Kropf. “We are conducting a full investigation and preparing an action plan to further address leachate volume during periods of precipitation to ensure a situation like this does not occur in the future.”
Following the release of the leachate, BluMetric Environmental Inc., which serves as WM’s environmental consultant, was instructed by Waste Management to investigate the property. Samples were taken and sent to BV Laboratories in Mississauga. According to BluMetric, “the analytical results from this sampling event will be reported when received from the laboratory. An action plan will be developed as appropriate based on the results.”
Munro says he hasn’t heard of any results and has yet to be given a time frame for when those results would be made public.
In regards to the delay in informing the public, Kropf said they are “investigating the sequence of events that took place and taking immediate action.”
Kropf adds they have discontinued further deposits of landfill leachate to the storage lagoon until the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has given them clearance to resume.