A proposed septage field, on a property on the Barry Line in Dysart et al, is generating a lot of talk in the community.
Dave Elstone, operating as Haliburton Septic Pumping, has applied to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for an Environmental Compliance Approval under the Environmental Protection Act.
The proposed site is at 1197 Barry Line Rd.
The plan has been posted to the Environmental Registry of Ontario and the public can comment up until midnight Feb. 21.
“It’s necessary because Dysart doesn’t supply the township with a dumping site,” Elstone told The Highlander during an interview Tuesday. He added, “Dysart’s expanding and … the whole county at this point only has two septic fields.”
Algonquin Highlands has a lagoon and Highlands East a ditch for septage. Minden and Dysart require septage fields, Elstone said.
He said he’d hired GHD, an engineering company in Peterborough, which came last fall to do a series of tests at the site, which is set back from roads on a ridge on the property.
“They go through a number of procedures. We test the ground. We dig test holes to make sure our depths are good, our percolations are good. They do analysis on soil. They do all the measuring from our field for setbacks to water, to wells, to houses.
“And at the end of the day, this particular site meets all those regulations that are set by the province. They look at all aspects of groundwater, surface water and everything on this site meets and exceeds those provincial rules and regulations,” Elstone said.
Darren and Teresa Johnston are neighbours of the proposed septage dumping site.
“We are concerned about the impact on our neighbourhood. We live in a beautifully forested, natural area and the largest attraction is the ability to enjoy the sounds and smells of the outdoors, and to trust that our water sources are clear of contaminants. Ontario is the only province that still allows untreated septage to be applied to land. All other provinces require it to be treated to meet the provincial standards before it can be applied to the land or disposed of in wastewater facilities,” the Johnston’s said on Tuesday.
They said their opposition goes beyond this case. They said they’ve heard the municipality is taking action and hope the attention that has been created by their petition encourages better alternatives moving forward.
They went on to say, “It is absurd that each individual septic hauler is responsible for finding their own areas for disposal. A residential land disposal site is not ideal in terms of impact on the natural, social or cultural environment.”
Elstone responded that he understood the concerns of those opposed to the project. However, “I feel they should get educated on what’s happening before they spread false information around, especially on Facebook.
He said his door is open if people want to call and ask questions.
“I know they don’t want it in their own backyard but it has to go somewhere and we go through the process that the province sets out and we follow that – and if that’s the case, then it should be allowed.”
Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts said she was a bit frustrated by the situation since she only learned about it via social media and one short item in a local newspaper.
She said she’s in the process of becoming informed and will be talking to staff and councillors about the township’s role, if any, prior to Feb. 21.
However, she said, “In terms of the municipality, we have no authority.”
“With anything, whether it be planning, or this, they [objectors] can’t just say ‘I don’t want it because I don’t want it. It has to be based on environmental concerns.”