October 4, 2004

11th-hour decision allows Toronto to continue shipping waste to Michigan

TORONTO, ONT -- At 5:00 p.m. on September 30, Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a decision to place Toronto on a list of approved jurisdictions to ship waste to the state's landfills. The approval was based on Toronto's ability to prove that it could meet Michigan's tough new restrictions on all waste entering its landfills.

Legislation passed by the state government in March prohibits the following materials from its landfills: hazardous waste; medical waste; used oil; lead acid batteries; low-level radioactive waste; asbestos; used beverage containers; yard clippings; and tires.

The state also required jurisdictions shipping waste to Michigan, including Toronto, to file a "Certification Application" with the DEQ by October 30, 2004. In order to use Michigan landfills, the jurisdictions had to prove that they have equivalent policies, operating procedures or legislation in place to ensure that the banned materials will not be sent to disposal sites in the state.

Applications were submitted by numerous out-of-state waste shippers; Toronto submitted its application on September 1, 2004. Toronto's application was accepted unconditionally and places the city on a list of approved jurisdictions to ship to state landfills.

Councillor Jane Pitfield, chair of the city's Works Committee, said, "We are pleased that the State of Michigan recognizes that the City of Toronto has the appropriate by-laws and policies to ensure that the waste we send to Michigan is safe. This does not diminish our resolve to continuously reduce our waste shipments to Michigan and, ultimately, to eliminate them by 2010."

Trucks carrying City of Toronto municipal garbage may be subject to periodic spot checks at the Michigan landfill but the state is satisfied that Toronto will do its utmost to ensure that prohibited materials are not carried in its loads.

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