DANFORD LAKE: Following a successful open house event held at the Bethany Hall in Danford Lake on March 12th, the Notice of Project for an engineered landfill site has been submitted to the Ministry of the Environment, formally starting the development process.
Project promoter, LDC Gestion et Services Environnementaux of Gatineau, and Fondex Outaouais, consultants, plan to begin the environmental impact study for the Innovation, landfill and Valorization Center of the Outaouais (to be known as CIEVO) in April this year, and if the application is accepted, start construction in August 2006.
“We presented the Notice of Project at the open house, but we have been meeting with the residents of Danford Lake for months,” said M Denis Rouleau, president of LDC. “We are pleased to show and explain all documents to the residents so people can comment and ask questions. The council and residents have chosen to move ahead with the project, and an environmental management watchdog committee has already been formed. A website is also being created for information updates.”
The environmental impact study, which searches for favorable sites with the necessary physical characteristics for the project, will take about a year to complete, and is one of 20 studies required. After this, there will be a public consultation period of 45 days, during which the residents of the area can voice any concerns. Ongoing problems at this point may lead to a public hearing or mediation. “A public hearing could take four or six months,” explained M Rouleau. “It is public opinion that can delay or even kill a project, not technical issues. In the past 10 or 14 years, only ten certificates for new landfills have been issued – that’s not many. The public has halted those other proposals.”
The Outaouais is one of the few regions in Quebec with no sites that comply with the new requirements becoming law in 2008. 85% of the Outaouais exports its garbage to Lachute, but in 3 years time, each region must become responsible for its own waste. The landfill in Danford Lake will be larger than a similar project presented to Municipality of Pontiac in 2004, which was rejected by residents.
The preliminary project description puts forward a forested site north of Highway 301 in the Municipality of Alleyn and Cawood, 8km from the village of Danford Lake and approximately 19km from Kazabazua. The area is currently owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources, but will be transferred to the Municipality.
CIEVO will have a total of 130 hectares to be developed in successive phases, with a life span of each engineered cell of 3-4 years. This gives sufficient capacity to receive about 250 to 280,000 tonnes of waste per year from the Outaouais region for 30 years.
The auxiliary infrastructure area for the project totals 50 hectares, which includes the access roads and buffer zone. Another 40 has will be reserved for the extension of the CIEVO project, for a total of 220 has out of the 339 available.
“There is no resident closer to the site than 1 km, and all of those owning surrounding properties are supporters of the landfill,” remarked M Rouleau. “The hills surrounding the area will hide the site, and it will not be perceptible from the Picanoc River. Based on our initial studies, there is a very low potential for environmental impact here.”
As part of the agreement, LDC commits itself to clean up Danford Lake’s existing trench landfill free of charge. Other perks include use of the landfills equipment for unrelated work and the certification of all the projects employees as fire fighters, at a cost of $20,000 each.
M Rouleau hopes the landfill might be used as a test facility for the University of Ottawa for waste management programs. Gasses released can be harnessed to produce electricity, power green houses or a wood dryer. New technology is being developed by Hydro Quebec that can kill all pathogens in the stored garbage, and reduce volume to 5% of the original amount.
To those that claim that engineered landfills are merely a stop -gap measure and not a real solution, M Rouleau says: “Yes, it would be nice to be see technology that can treat 100% of our garbage. But that doesn’t exist. Engineered cells are not the end of the development process. I have young kids too – I’d like to do better than this. But what should we do while we wait for a real solution? Continue to burn and bury garbage?”
Alleyn and Cawood mayor Joseph Squitti said CIEVO will tie in with the creation of the 9000 acre Mont O’Brien park. “We are looking at an engineered landfill because we want to show how these things can work in harmony. We’ve had many questions and concerns raised and a lot of support expressed, too. We have been totally informed and involved all the way – this is for our community.”
Ken Lapierre, a member of the environmental committee, confirmed that both permanent and seasonal residents are taking part in the process. “People up here are enthused,” he said. “One of the concerns raised was over the number of trucks coming through Danford Lake, but we already have a high volume of logging traffic. I’ve got no kick about this project going ahead. Reading about the problems in Cantley’s dry materials dump – it’s terrible that it’s gotten so far. We can clean up this area and help the environment, and the community is 100% behind us.”