Changes may be coming for Irondale landfill site
By Chad Ingram
Published July 5, 2018
In late May, a group of residents from Milburn Road visited Minden Hills councillors with numerous complaints about the Irondale landfill, asking that the site be closed.
Residents contended that minimum setbacks, including from public roads, water courses and dwellings, are not being met, and said that covering of waste at the site does not take place as frequently as it should. Trees that once provided a visual buffer for a neighbouring property had been cut down by the township, and garbage often collects along the road, and sometimes in streams in the area, residents said. They also provided photographs. The residents contended that the condition of the landfill violates numerous provincial regulations.
During a June 28 council meeting, Minden Hills environmental and property operations manager Ivan Ingram refuted that claim, saying that conditions at the site met minimum requirements laid out the Ministry of Environment.
“The site doesn’t meet the same standard that many sites do, but the ministry has approved it, the ministry has agreed to it,” Ingram told councillors.
“Cover is applied once a month from November to April and twice monthly the rest of the year,” Ingram said. While he said staff members admit they are sometimes late in applying cover, “Staff is making a stronger effort to meet those requirements, and I think we have, this year specifically, and the fall of last year.”
As for trees that were cut down by the township, Ingram said that was completed by staff as part of regular landfill operations in order to maintain a required four-way slope. He said staff try their best to deal with the garbage members of the public leave along the road.
“I’m not going to mince words,” said Mayor Brent Devolin, “standards required by MOECC and Cambium [the consulting company that performs landfill monitoring] are their minimum standards and, I can tell you, in my opinion, and I think the majority of council . . . those aren’t our standards. And it’s not good enough. We saw . . . visual evidence of things there we’re not very happy about. And we may technically comply with some of this stuff, but it doesn’t pass our test.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, it’s pretty hard for staff to meet your standards when they haven’t been given to staff,” Ingram replied. “We follow what we’re legislated to do. I cannot act if you don’t tell me what you want done at those sites, so I feel that’s a little unnecessary.”
“This is an unacceptable situation to everybody involved – staff, the public, council,” said Councillor Pam Sayne.
“For us to do inward fighting, in terms the divisions between staff and council and public, it’s not going to get us fixing the situation together,” Sayne continued. “I think the public has a responsibility – not dropping their garbage along the road, it doesn’t get there just by accident. The council has a responsibility. If we want to set standards higher than Cambium, then we better look beyond what Cambium is presenting us . . . We’ve got to also give our staff more direction on these sorts of things.”
Councillor Jeanne Anthon asked that if, financially, it might be more appropriate for the township to convert the Ingoldsby landfill into a transfer station.
“In my opinion, it would save the taxpayers a lot of money,” Ingram said, after explaining there is relatively little waste deposited at the Irondale landfill. Ingram said there would be some initial costs for the transformation of the site.
Councillor Lisa Schell noted that extra money would have to included in the landfill budget to facilitate such a change.
“This stuff doesn’t just happen out of thin air, it requires dollars,” Schell said.
The report was accepted for information, but no further action was given during last week’s meeting.