Sprawling parkland used by families to walk dogs and to play lays nestled in the centre of a dense housing development in North Oshawa. Though many locals may not know it, this parkland borders on a 35-acre industrial landfill. New evidence now reveals that the site has been leaching toxins into the local soil and Harmony Creek, which feeds Lake Ontario.
Sarah Ross - the area resident who first identified the leachate - and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper visited the site and gathered soil and water samples during the summer. Now Waterkeeper and Ross are preparing an Application for Investigation to the Ministry of the Environment, offering proof of several violations of the Environmental Protection Act.
There are several reasons Waterkeeper is concerned about the Harmony Landfill. Closed in 1985, the industrial dump contains paint sludge, phosphates, metal waste and various other toxins the measure far over provincial and federal standards. There is no fence or barrier to prevent trespassing from the park, and only two private property signs (one of which has fallen off it's pole) to alert the public. It also appears as though the site's owner, Jim Sinclair, may have a history of environmental "sins". Sinclair was recently convicted on some 19 charges and ordered to pay over $230,000 in fines after destroying a wetland and failing to comply with a host of federal, provincial, and conservation authority rules in Belleville.
The Application for Investigation with the Ministry of the Environment is available on Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's website.
Follow Sarah Ross' investigation of the Harmony landfill on her blog
This Week's Living at the Barricades
This week, Mark and Krystyn discuss the hidden dangers of landfills and the runoff that pollutes our drinking water. We also take an in depth look at one Oshawa citizen trying to pull back the layers and expose a favorite dog park for what it really is: a 40-year old landfill.
Music on This Week's Episode:
A Little Bit of Fascism by the Sweaters
Slow red Building by Jason Kenemy.