Elstone gets green light
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | May 3, 2018
Haliburton Septic Pumping can resume operation of its spreading field in Algonquin Highlands after an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) ruling last Thursday.
Company owner Dave Elstone had appealed to the ERT after the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) cancelled his environmental compliance approvals (ECA) last fall - which basically shut down the septage field off Highway 118.
It was during mediation this spring that Elstone and the MOECC came to an agreement to allow the use of the field for only another two years, with stringent conditions. As a result, a full-fledged hearing was averted. ERT vice-chair Justin Duncan and member Helen Jackson issued their decision April 26, effectively ending Elstone’s appeal.
In a 37-page ruling, the tribunal said no evidence was presented during the hearing of surface or groundwater contamination from the field’s operations. It acknowledged the potential for future impact, though, saying the extension to only Nov. 30, 2019 was key. It felt the draft ECA also addressed the potential for future impacts, calling the terms and conditions “stringent.”
For example, spreading can’t occur any closer than 270 metres from the closest drinking well. The minimum provincial setbacks are 90 metres. Also, berms and setbacks from surface water features will be established, and the potential for off-site impacts controlled and monitored. There’ll be additional groundwater monitoring, which will act as an early warning system for any impact. The MOECC will also do added surface water and off-site drinking water sampling.
“The Tribunal finds that the draft Amended ECA will provide for an operation that is consistent with the purpose and provisions of the EPA to protect and conserve the natural environment. Furthermore, the Tibunal finds that the agreement reached by the parties is in the public interest by imposing stringent conditions on the appellant’s operations, including the expiry of the draft Amended ECA on November 30, 2019, and by providing sewage disposal capacity in the county.”
The Highlander contacted Elstone but he didn’t respond as of press time. However, his representative, Kelly Gravelle, said on April 13, “Elstone is committed to a safe, environmentally-respectable site and business.”
Our Grandchildren Matter Too (OGMT). spokespersons, Bill Missen told The Highlander, “on behalf of the fish, the turtles and the people that are in the watershed of this site, I pray that the MOECC, the ERT and Algonquin Township are correct and that nothing seriously goes wrong here.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.