Plans still on to cap the remaining waste, provincial spokeswoman says
The former site of the New Harbour dump has been closed for almost four years, but there’s still work to be done to clean it up, and at least one local resident is worried the government is dragging its heels on finishing the job.
“We’re trying to find out for sure, are they going to cap the whole site or not?” said Alan Williams. “It looks to me like they’re not going to cap it.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment told The Telegram Tuesday in an email “there has been no delay.” She added that it is still early in the new fiscal year.
The capping relates to small holes left in the ground of the former site, some of which are several feet deep. According to Williams, the original contract called for the entire site to be capped off.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s dangerous to walk over it, because places there (are) collapsing,” he said. “There’s no sign there that says you can’t enter the landfill.”
Asked if any locals visit the former dumpsite, Williams said some people do.
“Their contract called for the removal of all hazards from the dump. Well, that’s a hazard.”
NDP MHA George Murphy toured the former dumpsite with Williams last week. Williams said moose tracks were spotted in the area during the visit.
“An animal don’t deserve to go down that,” Williams said.
“You can look down and you can see old wood, plastic pipe, pieces of angle iron, and everything sticking out of that.”
Murphy said further capping alone will not suffice for the area.
“Whether they are going to cap it by putting a layer of grass or something like that, I don’t know, but certainly they’re going to have to put some sort of growth over the top of it to prevent any soil erosion that’s happening there now.”
Murphy also suggests work is still needed to address the possible leakage of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) along the west side of the former landfill site. Hundreds of tonnes of PCB-tainted soil and debris has been excavated from the dumpsite over the last few years.
An earlier contract handled covering waste at the former landfill.
In January 2012, the department told The Telegram a one-year settling period was required before work could begin to install engineered cover and vegetation.
At that time, the government said more testing would take place to determine if additional soil or debris needed to be moved.