New Har­bour res­i­dent pe­ti­tions fed­eral min­is­ter to in­ves­ti­gate land­fill op­er­a­tion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY LIL­LIAN SIM­MONS

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.”

The pe­ti­tion

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.

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