City outlines concerns about landfill

The city has submitted a list of concerns and queries to Upland Excavating related to its proposal to expand its landfill operations to accept non-hazardous solid waste.

The city has requested written responses from Upland on 58 comments and questions based on the final technical reports prepared for the company’s public engagement process as part of its expansion application.

The letter containing the queries will also be sent to the province, which is responsible for assessing Upland’s application for an Operational Certificate to accommodate a landfill on Upland-owned lands at 7295 Gold River Highway.

City Manager Deborah Sargent said the city realizes there is a need for the service Upland intends to provide. However, Sargent added, the city needs to do its due diligence to ensure concerns raised by the city’s Environmental Committee around the safety of the city’s drinking water are addressed.

“The City of Campbell River recognizes the need for a local solution to the local waste stream, including contaminated soil and asbestos,” Sargent said in a release. “At the same time, any proposed facility has the potential to have environmental impacts of concern, and the city wants certainty that every precaution has been considered to safeguard the community’s drinking watershed as well as the Quinsam River, Cold Creek and other environmental systems.”

The comments and questions in the letter relate to:

n Baseline measures of waste already in the landfill.

n Baseline water quality, groundwater flow and plans to protect human health and freshwater aquatic life, including leachate treatment/runoff/spill prevention and keeping dust-borne contaminants from entering waterways.

n Plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and how landfill gas generation levels could affect meeting community energy and emissions targets.

n How open burning of non-treated material could affect air quality fine particulate levels.

n The ability of the landfill liner to withstand storage of hydrocarbons.

n Whether chromated copper arsenate-treated wood and aquaculture-related waste would be accepted at the proposed landfill.

n Long-term site monitoring and maintenance of records, even after landfill closure.

The proposed facility would take land clearing debris, inert construction material and demolition waste as well as non-hazardous contaminated soil and asbestos and requires the design and construction of a lined landfill and leachate treatment system. The proposed capacity is approximately 506,000 cubic metres of waste to be deposited over 20 years with an estimated annual average of 32,890 tonnes. The Environmental Committee is concerned about the project because it has said the proposed waste landfill site straddles a large aquifer, which is hydraulically connected to Rico and McIvor lakes. The city’s drinking water passes through McIvor Lake.

However, Terry Stuart of Upland told the Mirror previously that safety components would be built in to the system to ensure the city’s drinking water is not threatened.

“Our design will entail a completely double-lined containment,” Stuart said. “No material can spill outside or be deposited outside of the liner. Water cannot spill out or drain off onto unlined ground and cannot flow uphill into McIvor or Rico Lake. The water treatment facility, as well, cannot overflow onto the ground.”

Stuart said the company has done its due diligence.

“A comprehensive site investigation has been completed, generating a technical assessment report, hydrogeology and hydrology characterization reports, geological studies to confirm neither ground water or surface water will be impacted,” Stuart said. “A voluntary public consultation plan and subsequent report was also completed to understand the concerns of the community.”

Ron Neufeld, the city’s deputy manager and general manager of operations, said the city has already received detailed responses from Upland in March as part of a stakeholder consultation process. Neufeld said stakeholders’ concerns resulted in a number of changes and clarifications to the final technical reports which the city still has questions about.

“Staff met with Upland and their consultant in November, and the company has acknowledged that further discussion will occur on the development permit requirement subsequent to making an application under the Provincial Waste Discharge Regulation,” Neufeld said.

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