November 13, 2006

Environment Minister rejects Richmond landfill expansion EA, denies WMC's request for withdrawal

TORONTO, ONT-The Ontario government has rejected the environmental assessment (EA) submitted by Waste Management of Canada (WMC) for its proposed expansion of the Richmond landfill site near Napanee, and has denied the company's request to have the EA withdrawn (EcoWeek October 30, 2006). Environment Minister Laurel Broten also turned down a request by WMC for a hearing by the Environmental Review Tribunal. "I have determined after careful review that it is in the best interest of public health and the environment to reject this EA proposal," Broten said. "The science is clear: this assessment failed to demonstrate that the community's water would be protected." In June, a technical review of the EA by government scientists and technical experts recommended that approval be denied. "Given that the landfill is a potential source of groundwater contamination in a susceptible subsurface environment," it said, "the Review has also concluded that there are significant environmental risks associated with expanding the landfill." The Richmond landfill is situated over a highly complex subsurface environment in an area where groundwater is the main source of drinking water and is therefore vulnerable to contamination. The review found that the EA did not provide enough information to determine whether or not the project could proceed without having serious environmental impacts, and was deficient in other areas relating to groundwater protection and mitigation of air emissions.

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