March 5, 2001

Safety-Kleen plan to restore landfill cell approved

Safety-Kleen's plan to permanently restore the sub-cell 3 section of its Lambton hazardous waste landfill near Sarnia, Ont has been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, the company reported recently. This allows the company to proceed with completion of detailed construction drawings for the plan, which will permanently contain and control the inward seepage of groundwater from the surrounding bedrock aquifer.

Water and naturally-occurring methane gas were found to be seeping into a 50-square-metre (530 square feet) area of the landfill in the fall of 1999, and the MOE issued an order temporarily suspending operations at the facility (ELW December 17, 1999). Further investigation revealed the seepage to be coming from three locations within the landfill section. Technical studies confirmed the stability and environmental security of the rest of the site, and operations were allowed to resume in January 2000 (ELW January 7, 2000). The affected area has been kept isolated from all waste management activities and monitored to ensure protection of the region's groundwater.

The containment plan involves covering the seepage area with a layer of granular material, then encasing it in compacted clay. Any water in the vicinity of the sub-cell will be drawn under pressure into the granular layer and up to the surface by means of a well pumping system. Safety-Kleen, which has not disclosed the cost of the project, expects work to begin early this spring and conclude before the end of the year.

"The plan will restore sub-cell 3 to the same high level of environmental security that naturally existed before the seepage occurred. It was developed by leading groundwater and subsurface specialists and has been subjected to three independent technical evaluations-by the MOE, St Clair Township and the Walpole Island First Nation," said landfill manager Dean Edwardson.

The company will be holding a public information meeting March 13 to review the plan and continuing site operations. More information is available from Safety-Kleen, 519/864-1021.

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