TORONTO - "Acutely lethal" doses of ammonia, PCBs, and PAHs are pouring into the Humber River from the King's Mill Park landfill in Toronto's west end. The closed waste disposal site - just one of seventy-seven in Toronto - is classified by Ontario's Ministry of Environment (MOE) as hazardous to human health.
"We're saying to the City - look, we've got 22 of these old landfills sitting directly on the Humber and Don Rivers, mostly in residential areas. We need to ensure that these dumps do not continue to threaten the health of rivers, plants, animals, and people in this city," says Lakekeeper Mark Mattson.
Test results released today by Mattson and water watchdog Lake Ontario Keeper show that the contaminated water (leachate) seeping from the King's Mill Park landfill into the Humber River is acutely lethal to aquatic biota. In lab tests performed by Beak International, Inc., all fish exposed to the leachate died within 24 hours.
After prompting from Lake Ontario Keeper, the MOE has launched an investigation.
"There are environmental laws in place to prevent this kind of pollution," says Mattson. "We've given the results of our investigation to the MOE with the expectation that they'll follow through."
Mattson notes the City of Toronto has its own by-laws regarding pollution in its parks - many of which are built on old landfills. Just a few metres from the King's Mill Park site, the City has posted a sign threatening polluters with prosecution, vehicle impoundment, and a $10,000 fine.
"They're serious about enforcing environmental laws," says Mattson. "Let's see them get serious about following them."
Lake Ontario Keeper plans to visit the 21 other old landfills located directly on the Humber and Don Rivers, documenting and sampling potentially toxic leachate to ensure environmental laws are being upheld. Records of these visits will be posted on the Lake Ontario Keeper web site .
For more information:
King's Mill Park case (includes photos, sample results, and biologist's report).