Media Release: Mohawks, Municipality, and Citizens File Legal Application Requesting Permanent Closure of Richmond Landfill Site

Media Release

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ), the Township of Tyendinaga, and concerned citizens have jointly filed an Application under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) to expedite the permanent closure of the Richmond Landfill Site near Napanee, Ontario.

The EBR Application was filed with the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario almost exactly two years after the Minister of the Environment rejected a controversial proposal by the site owner (Waste Management of Canada Corporation) to significantly expand the existing landfill site. Despite this Ministerial rejection in 2006, the Richmond Landfill still remains in operation, still accepts waste and contaminated soils, still causes odour impacts upon neighbouring residents, and still poses risks to groundwater and surface water.

“The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte are downstream of the Richmond Landfill and the environment is at risk of the negative transboundary impacts,” stated Chief R. Donald Maracle of the MBQ. “The closure of the Richmond Landfill Site is long overdue, and the Ontario Minister of the Environment must act to protect the environment and the people by insisting that a proper closure plan be implemented.”

The EBR Application was filed in light of recent announcements by Waste Management that it intends to continue landfilling operations at the Richmond Landfill for “several” more years.

“In our view, the closure of the Richmond Landfill Site must be immediately implemented for environmental protection purposes,” said Richard Lindgren, a CELA lawyer who represents local residents. “It is our opinion that the existing Certificates of Approval for the Richmond Landfill are outdated and inadequate, and they should be amended by new conditions which prohibit waste disposal activities at the site after December 31, 2008. This is a site that needs to be properly closed, not kept open indefinitely.”

A copy of the joint EBR Application will be forwarded by the Environmental Commissioner to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Under Part IV of the EBR, the MOE is obligated to reply to the Applicants within 60 days.

“We firmly believe that the Richmond Landfill must be closed for the same environmental reasons that led the Minister to reject the proposed expansion,” declared Margaret Walsh, Reeve of Tyendinaga Township. “In our view, the site’s hydrogeological characteristics – and its close proximity to surface watercourses, farms and residences – make this location fundamentally unsuitable for the continuation of landfilling activities.”

For more information, please contact:

Chief R. Donald Maracle (613-396-3424) Reeve Margaret Walsh (613-396-6021)
Richard Lindgren (613-385-1686)

BACKGROUNDER – Richmond Landfill: Chronology of Environmental Concerns