Dysart groundwater contamination prompts more bottled water
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | September 28, 2017|
The Municipality of Dysart is planning to provide seven more properties with bottled water on Industrial Park Road to help mitigate ongoing groundwater impacts stemming from the Haliburton landfill, according to Rob Camelon, the municipality’s director of public works.
“We supply bottled water to some of the downgradient businesses on the east side of Industrial Park, we’re going to expand that to the west side of Industrial Park, too, just as part of due diligence,” Camelon told members of Dysart’s environment and conservation committee Sept. 14.
Paperwork finalizing the expansion has been sent to the affected businesses, he added. This brings the total number of businesses supplied with bottled water to 12.
Off-site leachate impacts to groundwater at the Haliburton site have been observed since 2009, Aaron Gordon, the Peterborough district’s senior environmental officer for the ministry of environment and climate change (MOECC), told The Highlander in a previous interview.
The MOECC told Dysart to supply the Industrial Road businesses with bottled water, and warning signs, beginning in March, 2012.
After the meeting, Camelon said the ministry’s ongoing testing of water wells around the site hasn’t been able to confirm whether or not the landfill is directly impacting groundwater on the west side of Industrial Park Road. But the municipality is being diligent, and supplying water jugs to seven additional properties will not cost Dysart much, he said.
In addition to new water coolers, expanding the program will cost approximately $1,400. “We don’t believe things are getting worse,” he said, referring to the groundwater issues.
A brief MOECC inspection Aug. 15 revealed “nothing scary” Camelon said during the meeting. There was no surface water contamination, but inspectors asked the municipality to perform some litter clean up around the site and to submit a plan by Nov. 30 that will expand the site’s contamination attenuation zone (CAZ).
These zones are natural buffers around a landfill that absorb groundwater contamination. Camelon said there are two ways to do this: the municipality could buy the properties next to the landfill site and remove the buildings, or purchase the groundwater rights on the street and supply affected properties with bottled water.
“Acquiring groundwater rights is a legal mechanism that allows us to control the use (for example, restrict drinking water wells),” Camelon explained. “This area would then typically form the CAZ and be registered on title as such.
“You don’t want any of your leachate above ground, you want it to stay underground.”
Coun. Dennis Casey, head of the committee, suggested purchasing the properties is likely not the direction the municipality would take.
Camelon agreed, but said they will have to further discuss the plan with their consultants Jp2g, a “multi-discipline consulting firm providing a comprehensive range of engineering, planning, environmental and project management services,” according to its website.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.