October 30, 2006

Waste Management withdraws EA for proposed Richmond landfill expansion

TORONTO, ONT-Waste Management of Canada has withdrawn its environmental assessment (EA) for a proposed expansion of the company's Richmond landfill in the eastern Ontario town of Napanee. The company's decision, allowable under the Environmental Assessment Act although rather unexpected, follows a recent review by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) which recommended that "the proposed undertaking not be considered for approval due to the public health and environmental concerns identified by the ministry, the Government Review team, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and the public." The Richmond landfill is situated on a highly complex subsurface environment where area residents use groundwater as a source of drinking water and is therefore vulnerable to contamination. The MOE review concluded that the EA failed to:

* provide for a viable leachate control option that would protect water;

* adequately describe groundwater baseline conditions; and

* provide sufficient information to determine whether or not the project could proceed without having serious transboundary environmental impacts.

Waste Management has indicated that it still intends to proceed with expanding the Richmond landfill site and will submit a second EA in accordance with the prescribed terms of reference. The Environmental Assessment Act allows proponents to do so. Environment Minister Laurel Broten is currently considering what type of conditions she will impose on the withdrawal of the EA.

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