More questions than answers on New Harbour dump

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Through an access to information request, I have received the following:

In 1992 Servo Environment Inc. was awarded the contract to remove transformer casings and scrap metal from the salvage yard in Makinsons, Conception Bay and transport it to the New Harbour dump. A disposal site located 150 metres upgrade of the main salvage yard also had to be cleared of waste material. the process of attempted cleaning was triple rinsing and double dipping.

No testing was done affer, it was just brought to the dump.

If we move ahead  to 1994-95, when Tri Waste from Alberta came here to remediate the soil at the Makinsons Scrap Yard, 198 transformer casings were excavated. The same procedure for cleaning was used.

It is stated on page 64 of the report that efforts to clean those casings proved to be ineffective and inadequate. If these efforts to clean those casings proved to be ineffective and inadequate, why would we believe that they worked in 1992?

When I filed for information, I asked three simple questions: 1) When did the removal start? 2) When did it finish? 3) What was the volume of waste removed?

I was satisfied with the answers to 1 and 2. I knew that removal started in 1992 and lasted for 10 days. I did not receive the volume.

However on Page 3./3.6, it stated that the contractor’s truck drivers will receive from the landfill operator written verification that each load was disposed of in the New Harbour landfill.

Without knowing the number of truckloads, we cannot know the volume. If we go to Page 1, item 2.1, it states that most of the scrap piles in the salvage yard were removed prior to the start of this project. Those are the piles that made up the 228 tandem loads that we dumped on our landfill in 1985-86. No testing, no attempt to clean, and no consultants to oversee that transaction.

Salvage operations were conducted through the 1970s and 1980s at Makinsons. It was in the early 1970s that the New Harbour dump opened.

Meant for domestic, not hazardous waste

It was meant to accept domestic waste only, from seven small communities. It was the government of that day that put the first hazardous waste on that dump — all 228 loads. They did this again on two occasions in the 1990’s.

If I could, I would ask that government, “What did we do to deserve all the consideration you showed the people of this area when thousands of tons of PCB waste was dumped on us along with other contaminants such as dioxins, furan, and heavy metals?”

I would ask the present government, “Why are you giving this undeserved consideration of making sure it stays there?”

It is obvious why this material was transported under cover of darkness.

In January 2012, the Department of Environment told The Telegram a one-year settling period was required before the cap would be installed on the dump.

A year has passed and there is no cap. There won’t be any on the next year either, or the year after (if ever). This project has been bungled. The big mistake was when they excavated sections of the dump to get fill to cover the waste.

They also told The Telegram more testing would be done to determine if more needed to be removed. This is not true.

They knew in 2010 that they would never do any more testing, and there would be no more removal.

On Aug. 31, 2011 I received a letter from then environment minister, Ross Wiseman wherein he stated that federal regulations did not apply to impacted sites.

They would do a risk assessment which would allow their consultants to come up with site-specific cleanup numbers to be used in place of Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment guidelines.

God help us all.

Allan Williams

New Harbour

Organizations: Servo Environment, The Telegram, Department of Environment Council of Ministers of the Environment

Geographic location: New Harbour, Conception Bay, Alberta

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