The Richmond Dump has been called “arguably one of the worst sites in Ontario to ever locate [a] landfill” by Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. He went on to say “It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to monitor this site.” In 2006 the Ministry of the Environment denied an application by Waste Management Canada Corp. (owner of the existing Richmond Dump) to expand the landfill. In 2010 the Ministry ordered that same landfill closed.
“An expansion of Waste Management’s Richmond Landfill, adjacent to the proposed BREC site, was not approved in 2006 after a seven year environmental assessment process. The Ministry did not approve the expansion in part due to the finding that the site’s hydrogeology and geology make it highly susceptible to groundwater contamination. It would be inappropriate for the Ministry to allow a proposal to proceed that has already been substantively rejected on the basis of a transparent, comprehensive science-based review.” Mark Mattson, President of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.
Since the area is not serviced by a municipal drinking water system, local residents, farmers and businesses rely on wells for their drinking water and other water needs. Only the top layer of groundwater is potable. The lower layer, which begins beneath approximately 30 metres of bedrock, is naturally saline and not potable. If the top layer of groundwater becomes salinized or contaminated with leachate, the wells cannot be deepened to access new fresh water. Moving the wells may not be an option since the entire area has the same geology.
In fact, numerous expert reports have confirmed that the hydrogeology of the site is characterized by thin soils, fractured bedrock, complex groundwater flow, vulnerable aquifer, no natural attenuation, and contaminant transport pathways that are unpredictable and difficult to track.
In 2005, A.C. Goddard-Hill, B. Sc, M.D, acting Medical Officer of Health in Bellville wrote:
“the expanded dump may ultimately leak hazardous liquids and gases into the already highly-polluted Bay of Quinte watershed water and air for many generations to come. Collected hazardous leachates may be disseminated to Bay of Quinte watershed tributaries, or to regional farmlands. These products may be detrimental to the health of those who drink the water, breathe the air and eat the food of the region.”
“The Richmond landfill site is located in the very headwaters of the Marysville Creek, and is immediately adjacent to the headwaters of Sucker Creek to the south, and to the Salmon River to the north. All three of these streams are source waters for the Bay of Quinte, which in turn is a source of drinking water for Deseronto, Belleville, Trenton and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. (Napanee takes its drinking water from Lake Ontario.)”
In 2005, Waste Management [formerly CWS] submitted an Environmental Assessment which indicated that the contaminating lifespan of the existing Richmond Landfill is 300 years;
In the subsequent Government Review of the Environmental Assessment, Ministry of the Environment staff concluded, among other things, that “the site has a history of odour complaints”, and “given that the landfill is a potential source of groundwater contamination in a susceptible subsurface environment … there are significant environmental risks associated with expanding the landfill;”
The evidence is abundant and indisputable. Greater Napanee is an unsuitable location for ANY new landfill, or landfill expansion.