Issues

Odour & Atmospheric Emissions

Landfills do emit foul odours and toxins into the atmosphere. Landfill gas, is a highly toxic chemical soup resulting from the microbiological and chemical decomposition of garbage in a landfill – starting about two to three years into the life of a landfill.  Landfill gas is principally comprised of methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and other sulphur compounds as well as hundreds of other chemicals in smaller amounts. The exact composition of landfill gas is unique to each landfill location depending on the garbage profile.  If you smell landfill odour then you are breathing air contaminated with toxic landfill gas. Other problems affecting air quality around landfills include noise, dust and bio-aerosol emissions.

Some 20,000 residents live within a few kilometres of the proposed new landfill on Carp Rd. A new mega-dump will lead to offensive and toxic odour being emitted into our community and an overall deterioration of air quality.

Ground and Surface Water Contamination

Water is also at risk of contamination from landfills. The geology along Carp Rd. features fractured limestone and is highly susceptible to groundwater contamination due to the many cracks and crevices in the rock. When groundwater is polluted, the pollution can then penetrate into the strata below the surface of the Earth, subsequently polluting aquifers and other important sources of fresh water.  This is a real concern for the many residents who live near the proposed new landfill and who rely on private wells for their water supply.

There is ample evidence of extensive groundwater contamination from the present landfill on Carp Rd.  In fact, Waste Management was required to purchase nearly150 acres of land to address offsite groundwater contamination. Surface water is also affected by landfills. When rain washes over a landfill it allows toxins to wash into ditches, streams and other watercourses including rivers that might be miles away from the landfill. As well contaminated groundwater can surface as springs and seeps to impact surface water far from the landfill.

 

 

Urban Conflict

Times have changed a lot since the 1970s when a landfill was first approved for Carp Rd.

Over the past 15 years, the west end of Ottawa has undergone a transformation from the rural and bedroom communities of Stittsville, West Carleton and Kanata. Since amalgamation in 2000, these communities, particularly Stittsville and Kanata, have experienced explosive growth and development and are the fastest growing suburbs in the City of Ottawa.

The table below clearly illustrates the dramatic population growth that has been experienced in at least Stittsville and Kanata.

City of Ottawa, Sub-Area Population Estimates, 2001-2010

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Kanata 56,597 60,126 62,257 64,081 66,341 67,519 69,123 70,634 73,360 75,293
Stittsville 14,996 15,980 17,033 18,050 19,161 20,016 20,869 23,022 24,829 25,467
Rural Northwest 20,958 21,382 21,833 22,280 22,777 23,271 23,544 23,879 24,132 24,381

When originally created in 1971, the current Landfill was in a rural area surrounded by communities with a population of less than 10,000.  The population of the surrounding area is now over 100,000 people, and growing rapidly.

Kanata North, Stittsville and West Carleton continue to be a preferred suburban residential neighbourhood for families and others.  Subdivisions including Fairwinds, Timbermere, Jackson Trails and Arcadia are all located within a few kilometres of the proposed new landfill.  Many rural, estate lot subdivisions, including Arbourbrook, Canterbury Woods, Richardson Woods Huntley Manor Estates and others rely on clean groundwater for source water supply. Other individual homes are located on the Richardson Side Rd., William Mooney and other routes –just 100s of metres of the proposed new dump.  A new mega-landfill in such close proximity to so many people is simply bad planning.

artist rendition of new landfill site

The new landfill will also be just three kilometres or so northwest of the home of the Ottawa Senators hockey arena, the Scotia bank Centre, as well as substantial “big box” shopping districts such as Kanata Centrum and future developments like the Kanata West Business Park.  The area in and around Kanata Centrum contains numerous restaurants, theatres and shops such as Home Depot, Costco, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart.  This area, located about five kilometres east (downwind) of the landfill, was frequently affected by noxious fugitive odours from the old landfill.  The potential for offsite odour from a new mega-dump to negatively affect these areas is high.

The growth of this region has, in part, been fuelled by Ottawa’s dynamic technology sector.  This sector represents the largest private sector employer in the City of Ottawa, and it is considered an important technology clusters and research and development hub in the world.  It is a source of strength and diversification to the economy of the City of Ottawa.  It is also a source of civic pride for Kanata, west Ottawa, as well as the city overall.

In time, landfills do get decommissioned due to environmental concerns, and urban growth.  This is precisely why landfills are given certificates of approval with limits.  Environments and sensibilities change over time.  While Carp Rd. may have been viewed as a suitable location in the 1970s it is quite simply no longer an acceptable location.

UrbanGrowth [pdf download]

 

A Better Plan

Waste Management has not justified the need for a 6.5 million cubic meter landfill for Ottawa.  In fact, such a huge landfill will put Ontario’s goal of 60 percent diversion at risk of being delayed another 20+ years.  Jurisdictions that have access to limited landfill capacity divert and recycle more – it’s a simple fact.

There is a better way to deal with our institutional and commercial garbage than simply burying it in the ground.

Here are some of the available options.

Energy from Waste

Plasma Gasification – Plasco Energy Group In December 2010, Plasco commenced its EA process for a permanent, commercial operating plant at Ottawa`s Trail Road landfill.  Find out more at www.zerowasteottawa.com

Biofuel – Enerkem Inc. Waste Management is an investor in Enerkem Inc.  Read about what’s happening in the City of Edmonton.

Incineration – Algonquin Power

Organics & Composting

Composting – Orgaworld Canada

Bio-Reactor (gas for energy) – Lafleche Environmental

Biofuels

Recycling  & Diversion

BFI Canada

Tomlinson Environmental Services

 

Waste is a resource that should contribute to Ontario’s energy future.

To meet a 60% diversion target, Ontario needs LESS landfill, NOT more.

 

PROPERTY VALUE

Waste Management wants to expand its dump on Carp Rd.

Is your home included in Waste Management’s (WM) proposed Property Value Protection plan if an expansion of the Carp dump is approved?  It might be – but only if you live within 500 metres of the proposed new landfill footprint. That is the range that WM has floated as a possibility. The 500 meters is based on a minimum distance mandated by Provincial Government guidelines. But, 500 meters is woefully inadequate when living beside a mega dump like the Carp Rd. landfill.

There are a few problems with what Waste Management has proposed!

  • As past experience has shown odour from a new landfill will travel far beyond 500 metres and be a nuisance and trespass to thousands of nearby homeowners.
  • In 2007 odours from the landfill were reported from as far as 8 kilometers from the dump.
  • Truck traffic can impact road congestion for several kilometers around a landfill.
  •  The active landfill will be visible from many locations including Kanata some 5 kilometers away.
  • Groundwater contamination from the existing landfill has been found as far as 500 plus meters from the site and in some places the outer limit has not been defined.
  • Research indicates a mega dump will negatively impact property values well beyond 500 meters.
  • Per WMs Terms of Reference for the Environment Assessment, WM committed to consulting with the community to develop a Property Value Protection plan during the Environmental Assessment process. This has not happened.

On January 25th, Waste Management held a technical session on PVP.  The majority who attended were soundly disappointed with the skewed information that was presented and the lack of meaningful commitment from the company to come through on its promise to develop a meaningful PVP.

At that session WM committed to holding another session on PVP but to date none has been planned.

If you are as upset as we are about WM’s lack of commitment to PVP, let the Ontario Minister of the Environment know that WM is not fulfilling its obligations per the Terms of Reference for the proposed expansion of the dump on Carp Rd. You deserve to know NOW if your property is “in” or “outside” of WMs PVPP.

Minister of Environment

The Honourable Jim Bradley
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto ON
M7A 2T5

minister.moe@ontario.ca

PVP – Map I

PVP – Map II

Do landfills impact property values?