The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) has been working to ensure the landfill in Area A meets all of the requirements from the Ministry of Environment, and will be monitoring the site closely during the spring to ensure there isn’t any runoff from the site.
Last year, contaminated water left the landfill and ran onto the neighbouring Weissenborn property.
“We hired a consultant to conduct an investigation, and that investigation was concluded, and all the results were shared with the contaminated sites division, and we satisfied those requirements,” said CSRD environmental health services team leader Ben Van Nostrand. “We spent a lot of time and effort to upgrade the internal ditching system, to try and obviously keep water on our side. The contractor is actively maintaining those areas as we speak.”
With colder mornings and warmer days, the snow is melting at a usual rate this year
“Fortunately, it seems like a fairly typical spring runoff this year,” he added.
In past years, the landfill has experienced flooding as a result of drastically warm weather melting the snow and ice all at once, which has caused contaminated water to leave the landfill site. Last year, the CSRD made upgrades to ditches on the landfill property.
“We feel the ditching networks we’ve established would be able to handle that. If it did occur, our contractor would be well aware of the situation and would be there with heavy equipment to block it,” Van Nostrand said about potential flooding. “We are clearing snow off the side banks, and making sure things are flowing on our property, and not off our property.”
The CSRD is also focusing its efforts on decreasing the number of ravens that frequent the landfill. Previously, they had met with conservation officers to discuss a cull, but they were not supportive of the idea. The CSRD has installed netting at the landfill to try and minimize the amount of birds that fly in and out, spreading garbage offsite. Van Nostrand says the CSRD is trying to apply more cover. The Ministry of Environment is expected to visit the site soon to address some of the issues outlined in a warning letter, sent by the Ministry of Environment to the CSRD.
“So, we’ll be able to talk with them. They’re inspecting the site and comparing the operational requirements to our activity on site,” Van Nostrand said.
Although the CSRD is working to minimize the amount of garbage debris that does leave the landfill property, they are no longer allowed to clean up what lands on the property next door. The property owners have asked the CSRD to desist their clean up efforts, because they say it has not been satisfactorily cleaned up in a timely manner in the past. Andrea Weissenborn stated in an e-mail that in the last two years, the CSRD has allowed contaminated water to run off the site, soil contamination was found, tons of garbage was removed but not properly cleaned up, fir trees in the area continue to die, large and unhealthy ravens, deer, and rodents feed at the landfill daily, and other trees were knocked down without permission. Van Nostrand says the CSRD is preparing a letter to the Weissenborns to confirm their ability to access the property to conduct a spring clean up, and also address the CSRD’s offer to purchase a 10-acre portion of the Weissenborn property for $72,000.
The CSRD is working on a hydrological assessment to address groundwater quality. A hydrological assessment was done in the past, and recommended the installation of wells which were completed last year.
“It’s quite a complicated site in terms of what’s going on with groundwater,” Van Nostrand said, adding that one well was 125 feet deep, and another well only 100 metres away has been drilled so deep that it has reached an area akin to the Kicking Horse River in the aquifer.
The CSRD was accepting proposals from qualified proponents to review the existing design and operation plan for the Golden Landfill and develop a report to update the existing design and operations plan, a regulatory report, and a conformance review. Applications were accepted until April 3.