New Harbour resident petitions federal minister to investigate landfill operation
Allan Williams is still pressing to have a 15,000 square foot area at New Harbour dump thoroughly tested and cleaned up.
The area is a section of the dumpsite where, through his own research, he has discovered transformer casings were buried on two separate occasions.
Some of the soil from that section of the site has apparently been removed.
“Taking a dozen truckloads out of there is far from the 228 - that we know of (from documented requisitions) — that went in there,” he said last week.
With help from the international organization Friends of the Earth, Williams filed a petition for an investigation to the federal Environment minister June 1.
He had filed a separate petition with the Office of the Audi- tor General of Canada back in September 2007.
The New Harbour resident said Friends of the Earth contacted him when someone alerted them to that petition which was posted on the Auditor General of Canada petitions website.
“ One of the Friends of the Earth field workers paid me a visit. They went through the documentation I have to justify the statements I made in the petition.”
They also took a first-hand look at the New Harbour landfill site located on New Harbour Barrens.
“ Their reaction to looking at the dumpsite? I’m pretty well sure she said she’d been in third world countries and compared it to third world conditions,” he said. “ Whatever comes out of it, at least they’re trying.”
In the June 1 petition, Williams outlines sections of CEP Act 1999 that were allegedly contravened and the circumstances that have led to the PCB contamination of the landfill.
Those circumstances, he says, are the disposal of transformer casings in 1985 and again during a remediation project in 1994. He provides a chronological summary of the events.
“The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has failed to adequately treat and contain PCB contaminants from transformer casings buried on the landfill site.
“As a result, PCBs are being released from the landfill site into the environment in amounts and concentrations that exceed the limit set out in Section 5 of the PCB Regulations,” he says.
In the petition Williams charges PCBs are being released into the environment from the New Harbour landfill site on an ongoing basis, in violation of the federal PCB Regulations and will continue to do so, “until the Province or the operator of the landfill takes measures to stop these releases.
“...Therefore (the province) is in violation of (the PCB Regulations) and is committing an offence under CEPA 1999. In order to protect the environment of New Harbour and human life and health, I am therefore requesting an investigation of this matter under section 17 of CEPA 1999.”
Williams also points out that due to the fact PCBs are found in a concentration of 50 mg/kg or more, and the large amount of contaminated transformer casings and/or soil (likely greater than 100 kg) there, the dumpsite may also meet other criteria and be subject to storage regulations for PCBs.
“ Therefore, the person who owns, controls or possess the PCBs or products containing PCBs was required by section 19( 1) of the regulations to send the PCBs or products to an authorized facility for their destruction or store the PCBs or products at a PCB storage site within 30 days of the regulations coming into force,” he says.
Since they were not sent way for destruction, Williams says either another section of the regulations is being contravened, “ or the landfill site is acting as a PCB storage site.”
If that’s the case, he said, there are other regulations that further apply and are not being followed at the site.
The petition also provides a list of potential witnesses who have knowledge relevant to the allegations made in his petition. The entire petition is available at: www. foecanada. org.
Meanwhile, a live interview between a Friends of the Earth representative and Allan Williams has been posted on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =La9_ZW0MZQU). The interview contains footage from the landfill site as well.