People concerned about a landfill application for a site north of Campbell River have had some of their questions answered.
After a nearly two hour virtual open house on Dec. 11, Discovery Park had received over 80 questions from members of the public. Some of which they were able to answer in the meeting, but the majority fell outside the allotted time of the meeting. On Dec. 22, a 14 page document was sent to participants in the meeting in which the rest of the questions were answered.
The document was broken up into sections, each with a different topic of discussion, which ranged from landfill material and transportation questions, earthquakes to jobs and benefit to the community. In the answers provided, Discovery Park staff reiterated that there would be no toxic or hazardous waste allowed to be dumped at the site, and that contaminated wastes would need to be approved before being dumped.
“There are very few active sites in B.C. that can accept material above IL limits and none on the island that can take IL+ metals,” staff wrote in response to one question. “A few bio-remediation facilities exist on the island, but they also have limits in terms of what they can accept. These kinds of permit amendments have long, very involved processes. There are strict conditions on siting, construction, financial security requirements and monitoring programs. This Site was developed for a different industrial purpose but now that the mill is no longer operational the landfill can pivot and provide a different service.”
IL limits refers to the current allowable material, mostly soils that were used in industrial sites. IL+ is the material that the application covers, which is more intensive than just industrial site soil and can include things like soils with hydrocarbons, metals and non-recyclable materials.
“It is the quality of the material that will change with the re- permitting,” the document reads. “Soils will change from IL to IL+. This classification change means that soils are allowed that are still below any hazardous or toxic waste and no municipal solid waste is allowed.”
Even though the soils allowed are below the threshold for hazardous and toxic waste, they are still contaminated. As part of the landfill’s design plan, a liner system with drainage to an onsite water treatment facility will be used, which has a much higher capacity than is necessary. According to the newsletter, the liner will have a service life of 100 years at the expected temperatures. That extends past the landfill’s lifespan of 25 years, and leachate will be treated for an additional 30 years. The closure plan also includes a cover that will not allow rainfall to permeate the landfill and will reduce the leachate after closure. That natural cover will be contoured and replanted with vegetation.
Some participants had questions about the possibility of bankruptcy and how that kind of scenario would affect the closure plan. Part of the application requirements was to set aside money to ensure the closure is properly done. That includes an annual allocation of money through the lifespan of the landfill.
“Annual allocations are anticipated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a cumulative security of multiple millions of dollars,” the document reads.
The full presentation including the video recording is available online. The issue will be before Campbell River city council who can set a public hearing on the project if they move forward with it in the new year.