Outside waste also no longer, must go to Hamilton plants
Upper Stoney Creek’s Taro industrial dump won’t see the return of a government inspector to check loads going into the site as part of licence changes that now allow it to take waste directly from anywhere in Ontario.
Geoffrey Knapper, district manager at the Ministry of the Environment’s Hamilton office, said inspections will instead continue to focus on owner Newalta Corp’s two transfer stations in the city’s north end.
The ministry scrapped the on-site position, which was funded by Newalta at a cost of about $80,000 per year, in December 2011 and initiated a pilot project that saw inspectors do one random visit to the stations every three months.
Knapper said the company does its own inspections at Taro which are audited by the ministry.
Newalta says it does at least five random inspections of the 1,666 loads the site receives on average each month. The government inspector did nine.
“We found it worked,” Knapper said. “The inspections at both the landfill and our transfer stations did not show any environmental issues, so we’re satisfied that the strategy that we put in place is appropriate.”
The change is one of three amendments to Newalta’s operating licence for the dump, approved in July 1996 without public hearings despite vociferous community opposition.
The site had only been allowed to accept waste from within Hamilton, but this included imported loads received at the transfer stations, located on Brant and Imperial streets.
It can now also take up 750,000 tonnes of waste in any 12-month period, rather than just within a calendar year.
Unlike with the inspector’s position, Newalta had sought the latter two licence changes and conducted an environmental screening process last summer and fall that included sparsely-attended open houses.
Knapper said the changes give Newalta greater flexibility while maintaining all existing rules on acceptable waste, which can only be what the province classifies as solid, non-hazardous waste – a designation that can include treated hazardous wastes.
Efforts to reach Stoney Creek Councillor Brad Clark for comment were unsuccessful, but he spearheaded a motion passed by city council last spring that demanded the on-site inspector be kept in place.
None of the amendments have been posted on the province’s environmental registry, which allows for appeals of the decisions.
Newalta communications director Greg Jones said little has changed from the company’s perspective and plans are underway to hire a third party contractor to do on-site inspections to address Clark’s concerns.
“We continued to do at least five random inspections per month on our own, as we did previously while the inspector was in place,” he said.
“We continue to follow the same rigorous operating procedures in terms of analyzing incoming materials to ensure they are acceptable for receipt, as well as ongoing monitoring of the conditions at the site.”
Jones said the ministry found “no just opposition” to the other licence changes, which he said will reduce traffic and improve air quality by the transfer plants.
At open houses last year, Newalta said requiring imported loads to go to the transfer stations lengthened the haul route by 12.5 kilometres for about 35,000 trucks per year, the equivalent of 135 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
It argued this made it less competitive because most other dumps have Ontario-wide service areas.
According to the company’s annual report for 2010, the site received about 334,000 tonnes of outside waste from the transfer stations, out of a total of 560,000 tonnes dumped there.