The Golden Landfill has received a second warning letter from the Ministry of Environment.                                Star Photo

The Golden Landfill has received a second warning letter from the Ministry of Environment. Star Photo

Golden Landfill receives second operational warning letter from MoE

The Ministry of Environment (MoE) has issued a second warning letter to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) regarding 10 non-compliances at the Golden Landfill.

In 2009, the MoE and Climate Change Strategy approved the Solid Waste Management Plan for the CSRD, and an update to that plan was approved in June of this year, following the first warning letter issued. The Operational Certificate 17006 granted to the CSRD under the Environmental Management Act. The MoE stated in the warning letter that any non-compliance with the operating certificate is considered a non-compliance with the Solid Waste Management Plan.

Ministry staff determined that the CSRD was out of compliance with 10 sections of the operational certificate.

According to the operation certificate, the CSRD must prepare and maintain a current design and operations plan prepared by a qualified professional, and must be updated as needed at least once every five years.

CSRD environmental health services team leader Ben Van Nostrand said the CSRD is still working on the five-year plan, and the consultant is nearing completion of the update to the design and operating plan.

“We intend to hold a public meeting in the late fall to discuss not only the direction of the landfill but also the direction and options for solid waste management in general for the community,” he said.

Three other non-compliance issues also directly surround the design and operations plan.

The CSRD was unable to comment on any of the other non-compliance issues as it has received notice of legal counsel for the neighbouring property owners that they are seeking damages from the CSRD for alleged mismanagement of the landfill.

Other non-compliance issues surrounded leachate surfacing and not properly reporting leachate, litter carried to neighbouring properties by animals, metal plates not sufficiently covering active landfilling, wildlife and vector control, and litter on and offsite. Underground, inspectors found water quality exceedances, and have stated the CSRD has not addressed the causes of those exceedances.

The CSRD was told by the MoE to implement necessary changes or modifications immediately to address all of the situations and bring them into compliance. The CSRD was also instructed to respond to the MoE by e-mail or letter within 30 days of the letter, dated September 10, to bring the authorization into compliance.

Since receiving the initial letter in 2018, the CSRD has installed litter fencing around some of the perimetre to help reduce the amount of litter leaving the landfill site. In June, Western Water hydrologist Bryer Manwell recommended that no further “sensitive land uses”be created in a buffer zone around the landfill, adding that there wasn’t any offsite migration of surface water from this spring.

READ MORE: CSRD and property owner discuss landfill with Golden town council

The hydrologist also suggested that the water wells onsite continue to be monitored for another two years before drilling offsite to determine where groundwater migrates from the landfill.

It was also suggested in June that offsite leachate could prompt more aggressive plans to close the phase of the landfill to install an engineered phase to minimize leachate.

The CSRD was unable to comment on any of the non-compliance issues of its operational certificate.