Site 41: Where Are We?
Permit to take water: The County of Simcoe has applied for a Permit to Take Water at its proposed Site 41 waste facility. The imminent construction of the first cell requires a massive withdrawal of water from the aquifer under Site 41. So does the construction of all subsequent cells. Once ground is removed down to the clay layer to make room for the liner and the garbage, the upward pressure of the water in the aquifer below will cause the clay layer to bulge upward unless the pressure is reduced by drawing off a great deal of water. They propose to discharge this water into a creek that flows into the Wye Marsh, potentially ruining fish habitat and endangering the marsh habitat. No environmental impact assessment of the de-watering for the first cell appears to have been done, let alone an assessment of the cumulative effects of constructing many such cells for the garbage of four municipalities.
The Council of Tiny Township, the Community Monitoring Committee, and FoTTSA all wrote letters to the Ministry of the Environment urging that the County’s application should not be approved. A decision was to have been taken in mid-March. But so far there has been no decision.
The MODFLOW Model: The County of Simcoe has consistently refused to release the MODFLOW Model used to check the engineering design of Site 41. Without it, the experts who peer-reviewed the design were hamstrung, as they were unable to check the input assumptions used in the modeling. Steve Ogden, the previous Chair of the CMC, therefore approached the Information and Privacy Commissioner to get this mathematical model released. A decision is said to be imminent.
The Ombudsman: Ray Millar, current Chair of the CMC, raised a number of concerns about Site 41 with the Ontario Ombudsman. The dumpsite is currently “under further review” by the Ombudsman’s Office.