Old Dump closes ski trails!!

Neco Cockburn in his January 14, 2013 article (Ottawa Citizen) “Mer Bleue cross-country ski trail closed for soil remediation project” presents important information on the environmental and social impacts of old garbage dumps. The Ridge Road landfill was operated back in the 1960s and 1970s by the city of Ottawa to dispose of municipal waste. Since it closed in 1975 it has been monitored for environmental impacts. The monitoring has shown leachate leaking into the groundwater and garbage exposed at the surface by erosion. To date millions of dollars have been spent to address the environmental and social impacts of closed and abandoned dumps and more will have to be spent in the future. The Ridge Road dump is not unique. In the past we heard about garbage being exposed at an old dump on Petrie Island and a leachate plume from the old March Township dump in Kanata which requires continuous monitoring and where some people are unable to use their well water.

These old dumps are small relative to the Carp Mountain which closed in 2011. Groundwater contamination at the Carp dump has been a problem since first detected in 1986. As well the steep slopes of the mountain of garbage will lead to erosion and garbage exposure in the future. The true costs of landfills are never covered by the operational tipping fees, but are passed on to future generations. Landfills are an archaic way of handling societal waste that has long term environmental and social impacts. We should conserve the landfills we have now and move to alternate waste processing like energy from waste and recycling.