Site Remediation

Background

The County assumed responsibility for solid waste management from its member municipalities in 2001. A strategy for the long term management of all the inherited landfill sites was established at that time. An initial assessment of the sites had determined that a number of issues required correction. In cooperation with the Ministry of Environment (MOE), the County detailed the specific remediation work required and established a schedule for the work to occur over a 10 to 15 year period.

Examples of site remediation required

  • in many cases, old waste areas had to be excavated and moved on site to create MOE required buffer zones
  • all sites had to have a final environmental seal or cap (1 metre of clay/fill covered in topsoil) established, proper drainage controls installed, and vegetative cover established
  • all sites had to be fenced and often additional monitor wells had to be installed
  • this process at times required the purchase of adjacent property to:

    • ensure groundwater impacts from the sites were properly managed on County owned lands
    • ensure buffer zones for drainage features
    • ensure capping operations and vegetation areas could be maintained

Good Neighbour Approach  

The County has worked closely with the MOE to ensure all sites are remediated to meet or exceed provincial standards. Annual reviews and as needed site inspections occur with the MOE to provide an opportunity to adjust any designs, site specific plans or work schedules.

From the beginning, the Solid Waste Services Division has taken a "Good Neighbour" approach in all of its active waste operations. That approach also applies to the closed sites. In urban or special areas where housing is adjacent to the sites, the County has installed black chain link fence to match the urban setting. Landscaping with sculpted earthworks and trees has been implemented to give the sites a park like appearance. Grass cutting programmes have been introduced so neighbouring property values are not negatively impacted.

Long term

pond at Harriston siteThese sites often link to rivers, creeks and wildlife corridors and provide an excellent opportunity for the County to give back to Nature. Additional plantings of pollinator species with native grasses, shrubs and trees are underway. We are also currently assessing opportunities to improve wildlife habitat.

The County has taken its long term responsibility for managing its waste facilities very seriously. This has lead to a very productive and proactive approach with the MOE to ensure that we manage these sites in a safe and responsible manner. SWS has also adopted a policy of exceeding MOE requirements and committing to sound environmentally healthy practices to benefit surrounding neighbours and communities.