Transition Ottawa

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I live in the rural community near Vars - part of the City of Ottawa. I just found out that a company has submitted a proposal before the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to open a Waste processing and transfer site here.

What are the risk factors of such a site? Apparently, the company intends to handle non-hazardous solid waste from residential and business sources; separate out the recyclables and then transfer the balance to landfills.

What are the impacts on the environment, the water -surface and groundwater; and the air?

Advice from anyone experienced in these issues would be helpful.

Francine Portenier, P. Eng.





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Here is an article on the issue published last week in the Ottawa Citizen:

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Province delays waste facility decision
Area politicians win push to give time for public’s response


By Matthew Pearson, The Ottawa Citizen
July 2, 2010

The public has more time to comment on a proposed new solid waste transfer station to be built near Vars now that the province has postponed the cut-off date until early September.

Carl’s Sanitation Services Ltd. wants to build a non-hazardous solid waste processing and transfer facility at 5001 Herbert Dr., just off Russell Road.

The company submitted an application to the Environmental Registry, which was set to accept feedback in writing until July 9.

But after area politicians complained they — and the affected communities — were given little notice about the proposal, the ministry has pushed the deadline back to Sept. 7.

Cumberland Councillor Rob Jellett learned about the plan June 22 in an e-mail he received from a constituent. He wondered why he and residents hadn’t been told sooner and criticized the company for trying to slip the application under the wire.

“To me, they’ve tried to sneak it in by filing the application with the province and not alerting anyone. I’m a little concerned about what they have to hide,” Jellett said.

However, Dan Meagher, the company’s vice-president, said Carl’s has nothing to hide. The company planned all along to hold an open house for the community if the proposal gets the ministry’s stamp of approval.

He added that Carl’s chose not to submit the application using a numbered company, which would have made it harder for people to figure out who was behind the plan. “We’ve been open and trying to deal with it the right way,” Meagher said.

The application requests permission to operate the site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and serve both Ontario and Quebec, with a total area of 1.5 hectares within a 3.25-hectare property.

The site would be used for various purposes, including sorting and separating recyclable materials; receiving, storing and transferring electronic waste, tires and small quantities of asbestos waste; and receiving, storing and transferring waste to landfills.

The site would initially receive and process a maximum of 73,000 tonnes of waste or recyclables per year, or roughly an average of 200 tonnes per day, with the ability to eventually double in size.

Citing asbestos as an example, Meagher said the company provided the ministry with a broad proposal knowing full well some parts might not fly. “We put it in there just to see what they’d say,” he said. “We’re not banking on it.”

As for the proposed round-the-clock operating schedule, Meagher said it’s easier to ask for that in advance than it is to go back to the ministry and negotiate for extended operating hours. Regardless, the facility would have to comply with the city’s bylaws around operating hours anyway, he said.

Jean-Marc Lalonde, the MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, said he pushed the province to extend the public comment period after he learned about the plan earlier this week.

Ivan Tanner, the president of the Vars Community Association, called for a public meeting.

“Let’s have a meeting where folks from the ministry, folks from Carl’s are all there to explain exactly what is going on, exactly what you want to do and exactly what the impact is going to be and then people can make an informed input,” he said.

Jellett raised concerns about increased truck traffic and potential damage to the area’s drinking water.

The size of the proposed facility doesn’t require an environmental assessment and Tanner said there’s no call for a hydrology study, even though the Herbert Drive site is near the Vars-Winchester esker. It provides about 15,000 people with drinking water.

Meagher, who doesn’t anticipate additional truck traffic, said waste won’t be on the site long enough for it to leach into the ground. Regardless, the company plans to install a holding tank for any liquid that does accumulate. “We’re trying to make sure it’s a class act.”

He added that 90 per cent of the company’s business currently comes from the construction and demolition industries. Operating a transfer facility would allow Carl’s to divert the concrete, steel and wood it collects from the dump.

“We’re saving landfill space, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Meagher said.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen


Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Province+delays+waste+facil...
Thank you for sending me a copy of the Citizen article. I am now involved in investigating the impact of the proposed waste disposal site on the groundwater, particularly the Vars-Winchester esker.
Francine
Francine -

did you know that Vars is part of the City of Ottawa's Neighborhood Planning Initiative? This is being led by the Community Sustainability Department. Seems like a great place to find some partners for Transition initiatives.

I found the report on this project on the City site. If you are interested I could email it to you.

Cheers!
Katherine,
Yes, I actually participated in the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative for 2 years - but you are right, I should be contacting them to get help in this matter. I haven't so far.
Francine

Katherine Forster said:
Francine -

did you know that Vars is part of the City of Ottawa's Neighborhood Planning Initiative? This is being led by the Community Sustainability Department. Seems like a great place to find some partners for Transition initiatives.

I found the report on this project on the City site. If you are interested I could email it to you.

Cheers!

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