Is our new neighbour putting our health at risk?
The Citizens Environmental Stewardship Association, East of Ottawa (CESA-EO) and the Capital Region Citizens’ Coalition for the Preservation of the Environment (CRCCPE) have good reason to be worried about the health risks associated with the proposed Taggart Miller facility at Boundary Road – with its potential for polluting the air, surface water and groundwater leaving the site.
No matter what engineers design as barriers, all dumps pollute the area well beyond their site borders and we need only look at the Carp Road dump for evidence of groundwater contamination and air pollution (evidenced by odour complaints).
Did you know that the MOECC expects dumps to pollute beyond their site borders and yet they don’t require a human health risk analysis?
No human health impact study was required by the scoped MOECC Environmental Assessment (EA) carried out by Taggart Miller. Our environmental experts specifically noted this failure when they stated, “The EA lacks a Human Health Risk Assessment which would have assessed the effects of the changes to air quality, water quality and several social factors on human health indicators.”
Air: Several recent reputable human health studies (done in Montreal, Great Britain and Italy) have shown that airborne volatile organic compounds from landfills harm human respiratory health, especially in children, there is a high incidence of cancer among persons living at a distance up to at least five km from the site; and the impact extends well beyond the boundaries of the landfill site. These studies found negative effects out to the five km study limit, but negative human health impacts extend further, particularly in the prevailing wind directions.
Water: The 500m attenuation zones around dumps are there to allow for the monitoring of polluted groundwater to extend off the site, and the dump owner is then expected by the MOECC (the regulators of dumps in Ontario) to purchase the water rights for any contaminated lands. The dump owners will then buy these properties, which allows them to easily expand their dump in the future. Once a dump is built it can grow and grow. Eventually nearby landowners are all bought out and the now-ruined community is emptied.
Waste dumps are not just polluters during their 25-30-year operating life either but continue to pollute for hundreds of years beyond their closure. By then, the owners and operators of the dump will have changed several times, meaning no accountability.
In the procedural battle Taggart Miller applied to the City to amend the Official Plan and the Zoning By-law to allow for the construction of its private dump on the 450-acre site at Boundary Road and Hwy 417.
We detailed our serious human-health reasons for opposition at the City of Ottawa Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee on April 5, but the five rural Councillors still recommended the project. On April 11 the full City Council approved the amendments without comment.In response we have hired a lawyer and are taking the City to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board). We are requesting:
1. A comprehensive human health risk assessment, like that which Walker Environmental Group had to perform for their proposed landfill at Ingersoll in Oxford County.
2. A comprehensive and continuing monitoring plan to detect threats to human health, both during the operations phase and the post-closure phase of the landfill to force mitigation measures to be initiated in a timely manner; and
3. Development of contingency plans to reduce the risks identified in the human health impact study.
We will need to undertake fundraising activities in the next few months to raise money to mount our legal challenge.
We have several strategies in mind to continue opposing this dangerous dump and ask supporters to note that this is a municipal election year! Please consider donating, volunteering, and making your voices heard to current politicians and those who would like to hold office.
We’re fighting for all of us.
Citizens’ Environmental Stewardship Association – east of Ottawa