Landfill water monitoring program to expand

·3 min read

WINGHAM – Director of Public Works Jamie McCarthy informed North Huron council on Oct. 18 that the water monitoring program at the Wingham landfill site will need to expand its parameters after current testing showed a larger radius of monitoring is necessary.

McCarthy sought permission from council to proceed with more drilling, sampling, and testing on the property located at 39601 Reid Rd., Lot 39, Concession 12, in the East Wawanosh Ward.

Council received a signed agreement with the landowner, William Dawson, to allow the monitoring wells on his property, as long as they don’t damage the crops.

“RJ Burnside is prepared to commission the installation of the additional sampling wells with a plan to have them installed by the end of 2021,” the report said. “These new wells will be sampled in the spring [of] 2022 and included into the overall monitoring program. Numerous sets of samples will be collected in the future to establish the limit of the Contamination Attenuation Zone (CAZ).”

The purpose of a CAZ is to ensure contamination is minimized and controlled.

The establishment of the CAZ will provide consultants and staff with the necessary information to establish the affected area and move forward with determining the next steps. From the report provided in 2018, the end goal of this program is to either:

commence the process of negotiation with the property owner for water rights, and;

enter into a discussion with the MOECP to add the impacted area into the existing Landfill ECA.

The installation of these new wells will impact the current budget and future operating years; McCarthy said, “the anticipated cost for the installation of four monitoring wells and associated investigation is approximately $40,000.”

“There is currently $50,000 in the landfill reserves for the CAZ program. Monitoring costs associated with the North Huron landfill site are incorporated into the operating portion of the budget and will continue on an annual basis,” the report stated.

McCarthy’s report said, “as previously reported in staff report PW2018-04, there are stringent monitoring and reporting requirements associated with the North Huron Landfill Site. These requirements, as outlined in the site Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA), include monitoring of groundwater in numerous locations around the perimeter of the site.”

During the 2012 to 2015 reporting period, analysis samples revealed parameters outside the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) reasonable use guideline (RUG) limits.

As a result of this testing, additional wells were installed on the opposite side of Reid Road in March of 2016. Samples taken from these wells confirmed that the landfill leachate was impacting the groundwater off-site.

Landfill leachate is characterized by high organic and inorganic pollutant concentrations (Bodzek et al., 2006) and is highly toxic to the environment.

Future considerations for the landfill report said, “in the event that it is determined that the influence of the landfill on groundwater quality extends beyond the proposed well sites, additional costs associated with establishment of CAZ boundaries will be incurred. Once the CAZ is determined and approved by the MOECC, there will be costs incurred by the township associated with the purchase of either groundwater rights or land.”

McCarthy will provide updates to the township as it becomes available. The additional data collected will be used to establish a clear plan forward for future years.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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