Decision Date: August 23, 2004
Panel: Dr. Robert Cameron
Keywords: Waste Management Act – ss. 13, 21; operational certificate; municipal solid waste, leachate
Ermes Culos appealed a decision of the Assistant Regional Waste Manager, Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, to amend sections of an operational certificate held by Wastech Services Ltd. and the Village of Cache Creek. The certificate authorizes Wastech Services Ltd. and the Village of Cache Creek to manage solid waste at a landfill. The amendment included authorization for construction of a berm that would increase the overall capacity of the landfill.
Mr. Culos submitted that the amendment was made in contravention of a requirement in the regional district’s solid waste management plan (“SWMP”) that there be public consultation prior to a “significant increase” in the rate of deposition of waste from outside the district. Mr. Culos further submitted that increased waste volumes would result in changes to groundwater quality outside of the landfill boundaries. Mr. Culos submitted that a break in the bedrock surrounding the landfill created a pathway for leachate to flow to a nearby river. He further submitted that the existing network of observation and monitoring wells was not sufficient to detect such a flow.
The Board found that, while the additional landfill capacity might result in the landfill containing a greater amount of waste imported from outside the district, the public consultation requirements in the SWMP are only triggered if there is a proposal to increase the rate of such deposition. In this case, the certificate amendment does not change the rate of deposition. The Board found that there was no evidence that additional waste volumes authorized by the amendment would result in groundwater quality being impaired, but the Board also found that the proposed expansion might result in some increase in the volume of leachate produced. Therefore, the Board considered the possibility of an undetected leachate pathway to the river. The Board found that the evidence indicated that it is highly improbable that a break in bedrock or another geological formation was creating a leachate pathway to the river. The Board further found that the existing monitoring wells were located such that they will provide the necessary warning of potential declines in groundwater quality.
The appeal was dismissed.