An image taken last month of garbage that was pushed over the edge of the former New Harbour dump site prior to being levelled. - Submitted photo
New Harbour resident Allan Williams is one of a number of people in the Trinity Bay community concerned about how a company contracted to transport fill to the former New Harbour dump has handled the job.
Williams, who has been raising concerns about environmental dangers at the site where PCBs have been known to exist for several years, said the project calls for 3,200 tandem loads of fill to cover garbage in the dump once it is levelled out.
However, Williams claims not one truck of fill has been brought to the site. Instead, he said fill is being used from the site itself, with a trench having been dug out for that purpose.
"It looks to me like it's right under where the car wrecks and everything was piled through the years," he said.
"I just can't see how you'd take fill off a polluted site. It don't sit right with me, because there was heavy metals and petroleum products on that landfill."
Williams said he has visited the old dump along with other residents since work began in the fall.
Concerns about PCBs left in the soil from transformers buried in the 1980s and 1990s have been raised by residents of the area for many years.
According to a spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Conservation, the contract for compaction and initial cover of waste is only the first step in the process of closing the landfill.
The dump was officially closed in September 2009.
After material settles over the course of one year, a second contract to install an engineered cover and vegetation will be issued. The cover will include a bedding layer, a synthetic liner, a drainage layer and a final soil cover, complete with protective vegetation.
She said clean, imported fill will be used for the bedding, drainage layer and final soil cover.
As for work already underway at the former dump site, the spokeswoman said the use of fill already on site was required in the tender.
"This practice prevents additional outside fill from being contaminated with waste, prevents an increase in the landfill size, and is more economical," she said.
By December 2008, 120 tonnes of PCB-tainted material had been excavated from the dump, according to a story published at the time in The Compass.
The department spokeswoman said an additional 136 tonnes of PCB-impacted soil and debris was removed from the area in 2010. It was shipped to Quebec for treatment.
Results from a study conducted in 2007 by AMEC Earth and Environmental on behalf of the Department of Environment and Conservation found PCB levels of 67 parts per million at one location, over twice the federal limit.
The department spokeswoman said additional testing will be carried out to determine if the removal of more soil or debris is necessary.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: TeleAndrew