Note: The offical submission is available for download here.
On June 14, 2006, a notice of proposal for an instrument was posted to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry. Lafarge Canada Inc. (Lafarge), located in Loyalist, Ontario is seeking approval for an amendment to its A710137 cement kiln dust (âCKD) landfill certificate of approval. The amendment consists of a management plan for the landfill for the next 14 years.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie (We) respectfully request that the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) require the Environmental Review Tribunal to hold a public hearing under the Environmental Protection Act Part V.
Lafarge began operating a cement manufacturing plant in Bath, Ontario in 1973. Since 1975 it has also been operating a cement kiln dust landfill on the property. CKD is a by-product of the cement manufacturing process. It is the dust captured from the cement kiln's exhaust gas by the air pollution control system. CKD is largely composed of raw feed materials, fuel ash, and minerals/salts created from the volatile alkali compounds released from the heating of raw feed materials in the kiln. CKD is a corrosive, toxic substance. Exposure for a sufficient duration to wet kiln dust can cause serious, potentially irreversible tissue damage to the skin, eye, or respiratory tract due to chemical burns, including third degree burns.
In 1998 Lafarge obtained a Certificate of Approval under the Environmental Protection Act to operate a CKD landfill (the Landfill) in accordance with the plans and specificationsâ€? largely set out in its 1987 and 1993 Management Plans (the Old Plans). However, these plans only cover the southern portion of the Landfill (the â€œExisting Siteâ€?). Lafarge has been operating the northern portion of its Landfill (the New Site) for three years without an approved management plan , a œrequired component of the existing Certificate of Approval. Lafarge is only now submitting new Management Plans (the New Plans) even though it has been operating the New Site for three years. Similarly, Lafarge has never received approval or conducted public hearings on its plans to expand to this New Site.
On May 9, 2006, the first notice of proposal for an instrument regarding this project was posted to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry. We submitted a comment dated June 8, 2006, regarding this first notice. The Ministry of the Environment extended the public comment period through July 14, 2006. This second submission is supplementary to our June 8 document.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie respectfully request that:
1. The Ministry of the Environment require the Environmental Review Tribunal to hold a public hearing under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act.
The grounds for our request are as follows:
A. Under the Environmental Protection Act, the Director can and should require a Part V hearing. B. The landfill poses a real and immediate threat to local water quality. C. This s. 27 application and Lafarge's s. 9 Alternative Fuels Project application (air) are interdependent.
A. Under the Environmental Protection Act, the Minister can and should require a Part V hearing.
Sections 30 and 32 of the EPA discuss the Director's authority to call a Part V hearing. Under circumstances outlined in section 30 the Director must hold a hearing (a mandatory hearing). Under section 32 circumstances, the Director may hold a hearing (a discretionary hearing). Both sections are triggered â€œWhere the Director receives an application for a certificate of approval for the use, operation, establishment, alteration, extension or enlargement of of a waste disposal site.
Lafarge's New Plans are alterations to the use and operation of the Landfill. The New Plans push back the Landfill closure date from 2008 until 2022. They also constitute an increase in the total waste disposal volume:â€? Lafarge's 1993 Management Plan discussed depositing 126, 000 m3 of CKD in five cells while Lafarge's New Plans discuss the landfilling of an additional 256, 645 m3 of CKD in four new cells. Thus, the Director has the authority to call a Part V.
Mandatory hearings are governed by section 30 of the EPA. A hearing must be called:
for the disposal of â€¦ any other waste that the Director ascertains, having regard to the nature and quantity of the waste, is the equivalent of the domestic waste of not less than 1,500 persons.
Section 1.3.4 of MOE's Guideline C-1 further explains when a hearing is mandatory: â€œA mandatory hearing is required in the case of extensions to waste disposal sites for the purpose of accepting municipal waste if the increased waste load exceeds the 1,500 population equivalent.â€? Municipal waste is defined in Ontario Regulation 347 as follows: â€œmunicipal wasteâ€? means, (a) any waste, whether or not it is owned, controlled or managed by a municipality, except, (i) hazardous waste, (ii) liquid industrial waste, or (iii) gaseous waste â€¦
Lafarge claims that CKD is not hazardous waste or liquid industrial waste. CKD is not gaseous waste. Therefore, CKD is municipal waste as defined in Ontario Regulation 347.
According to numbers provided by Lafarge, 1,500 persons create 1.25 tonnes of waste daily. Lafarge has been dumping a daily average of over 78 tonnes (28, 521 tonnes/year) of CKD into the Landfill between 1992 and 2004. This constitutes over 62 times the waste created by 1,500 persons“ far more than is required to trigger a mandatory hearing.
Discretionary hearings are governed by section 32 of the EPA. This section is further clarified by MOE Guideline C-1 . A hearing is normally called if requested by the local municipality or a significant number of members of the public. A hearing may be called if there is likely to be a significant off-site environmental impact or the site design or operation may require special evaluation. Section B of this submission outlines known environment impacts and site design issues that support a decision to hold a discretionary hearing.
B. The Landfill poses a real and immediate threat to local water quality
Lafarge's Landfill is likely to have a significant off-site environmental impact and the site design requires special evaluation The 27.9 hectare CKD Landfill is located to the north-east of the quarry and kiln. It is less than 900 metres from the closest private property and under 1100 metres away from lake Ontario. Within the Landfill area, the 4.1 hectare New Site is directly north of the 5 hectare Existing Site .
Lafarge's expansion brings the landfill much closer to the groundwater and the Bath Creek. The New Site is â€œa relatively low lying/wet area which receives surface water run-off from the higher lands to the west and southwest.â€? The Existing Site was 50 metres away from Bath Creek. Now the creek runs directly along the eastern border of the New Site. The Existing Site was between 2.5 to 5.3 metres from the water table while the groundwater is only .1 to .8 metres below the ground surface in the New Site.
Leachate from the Landfill is released untreated into the Bath Creek, which runs through the town of Bath and into Lake Ontario. Provided that permission is obtained from the MOE District Manager, water is released into Bath Creek from a ponded water area as long as toxicity tests show less than 50% mortality. Lafarge is allowed to continuously discharge into the creek from culvert as long as monthly monitoring does not indicate greater than 50% mortality. Independent expert analysis confirms that the current standard for discharges to surface water is not adequately protective of aquatic water quality or aquatic organisms.
In 1994, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates published a Hydrogeology and Hydrologic Monitoring Program report for the CKD Landfill. The report included startling findings from sampling conducted in 1993 and 1994. Levels were detected above Provincial Water Quality Objectives (PWQO) for Silver, Aluminium, Cadmium, Iron, Molybdenum, Nickel, Strontium, Zinc, Phosphate, and Phenols. The highest results found cadmium at 560 times and molybdenum at 500 times PWQO levels where the Bath Creek exits Lafarge's property. Strontium was found at 19,285 times PWQO levels on Lafarge's property just downstream from the Landfill area.
A 2006 test of Lafarge's CKD found a pH of 12; the PWQO limit is 8.5. CKD leachate typically has a pH in the 8-10 range.
Lafarge is required to test the groundwater and surface waters surrounding its CKD landfill and publish the results in annual monitoring reports. For the last five years, Lafarge's annual monitoring reports have published surface water sampling results that fail PWQO tests.
Groundwater samples have also consistently failed to meet guidelines. However, the real effects on the groundwater are unknown because of flaws in Lafarge's monitoring program. Lafarge's environmental consultants, Golder Associates, reported in 2005 that Lafarge has not been comparing its results to the correct standards, MOE Guideline B-7. Golder also reported that 1) two additional wells are needed for proper testing; 2) an elevation survey is recommended and 3) a hydrogeological study of the site and leachate plume is needed in case ânon-compliance of Guideline B-7 occurs.
Lafarge is required to perform occasional daphnia magna tests on surface water samples. Lafarge's 2001 annual monitoring report listed the results of two of these tests where all organisms died at 100% concentration. Even more troubling, Lafarge no longer publishes the results of these tests in its annual reports.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has learned that local residents have witnessed unusual water discolouration during storm runoff events. We have also learned of complaints about fugitive dust from local residents. In 2005 the MOE tested dust samples taken from a nearby local residence. Tests confirmed that the dust originated from Lafarge's property. MOE advised Lafarge that such events are a violation of section 14(1) of the EPA.
The CKD testing, groundwater testing, surface water testing, daphnia magna testing, creek discolouration, and fugitive dust reports, strongly suggest the presence of off-site environmental impacts from the Landfill. Furthermore, the grave environmental impacts, incorrect groundwater guidelines, insufficient surface water guidelines, and gaps in information confirm the need for special evaluation. Thus, this Landfill poses a real and immediate threat to local water quality
C. This s. 27 application and Lafarge's s. 9 Alternative Fuels Project application (air) are interdependent.
Lafarge currently has an application for a certificate of approval for air before the Ministry of the Environment. This application would allow the company to burn Alternative Fuels such as pellets, tires, plastics, and other materials to help reduce its fuel costs. Lafarge claims its Alternative Fuels Project will create no waste, based in large part on the company's ability to blend ash residue into its product and/or dispose of it at its onsite landfill. For example, the company has been quoted as stating, “When we burn tires, there are no by products.”
While the MOE has suggested that Lafarge's Landfill application and its Alternative Fuels Project are â€œnot linked, we respectfully submit that the two projects are, in fact, interdependent.
For every hundred tonnes of cement it produces, Lafarge generates four tonnes of CKD. Between 1992 and 2004, Lafarge dumped an average of 28,521 tonnes of CKD per year into the landfill, the equivalent of the domestic waste created by 94,000 people annually. Lafarge itself has written that, the chemical and physical state of CKD is in part dependant on the chemical composition of the raw materials and the state of the process at any given time.
Quite simply, the Landfill exists solely to house waste from the plant, and the plant cannot operate without generating waste. The manufacturing process exerts equal influence over the Landfill: the Landfill's chemical and physical composition depends entirely on the nature of the materials used in the manufacturing process. If Lafarge receives a certificate of approval to incorporate alternative fuels into its process, the composition of the CKD will change; thus, the composition of the landfill will also change and the monitoring and mitigation needs of the Landfill could be impacted.
Furthermore, Lafarge argues that its Alternative Fuels Project will eliminate waste. In fact, many of the contaminants found in alternative fuels imported from other regions (such as tires) will end up in the CKD landfill in Bath. The end result is the tradeoff of one kind of waste (pellets, tires, plastics, etc.) for another kind of waste (CKD).
Yet, the application regarding the CKD landfill makes no reference to Lafarge's plan to burn these wastes or the potential changes in the levels/types of contaminants in the CKD resulting from the use of alternative fuels. Similarly, Lafarge's recent applications to the Ministry of the Environment regarding its Alternative Fuels Project make no reference to the effects on the CKD landfill. In light of the Alternative Fuels Project's potential impacts on the CKD landfill, these omissions should be corrected and examined in a public hearing.
Should the Director decide not to hold a Part V hearing, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie alternatively request that:
1. The MOE reject Lafarge's application and instruct the company to resubmit a complete application for public comment, should Lafarge choose to proceed.
We make this request on the ground that Lafarge's application lacks key information.
Waterkeeper retained Wilf Ruland, a P. Geo, to analyse Lafarge's New Plans. (See Appendix A). This expert's initial conclusion is that Lafarge's application should contain the following: an overview of the Existing Site and its impacts on the ground and surface water an assessment of the potential cumulative impacts of the Existing Site plus the proposed New Site.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's review of Lafarge's plans have found that its application should also include: an Environmental Impact Assessment on the Bath Creek a report evaluating Lafarge's compliance with section 35 and 36 of the Fisheries Act total yearly discharges from the Landfill to the Bath Creek the precise surface water sampling locations it is unclear whether samples are taken of all leachate seeps before they are diluted with surface waters testing of all leachate seeps and surface waters with a complete suite of parameters testing of surface waters after heavy rain to determine if CKD is contributing to discolouration witnessed by local residents an examination of Lafarge's dust management practices to determine if CKD is blowing to neighbouring properties a full study of the potential impacts on the composition of the cement kiln dust that will be occur if Lafarge adds tires, plastics, bones, domestic waste pellets and other garbage to its fuel mix testing of the CKD leachate by the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure outlined in O. Reg 347 to determine if CKD constitutes hazardous waste, a memo outlining Lafarge's compliance with the latest landfilling site standards contained in Ontario Regulation 232/98
This information is absolutely critical to the decision-making process. Indeed, it would be impossible for any reasonable person to approve Lafarge's application without first reviewing these documents.
Note: The offical submission is available for download here.