Stoney Creek Taro Landfill took soil from contaminated Kenilworth Reservoir
The city sent almost two-thirds of the contaminated soil removed during the rehabilitation of the Kenilworth Access reservoir to GFL’s Taro industrial landfill in upper Stoney Creek – a fact omitted from a June press release celebrating the completion of the work.
Taro manager Lorenzo Alfano revealed his landfill had taken up “most” of 13,270 cubic meters of soil in response to concerns raised by a citizen member of the site’s Community Liaison Committee at its quarterly meeting on 12 september.
The city council voted in November 2020 to have the soil removed after tests revealed it contained benzo(a)pyrene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon linked to cancer.
Contacted after the CLC meeting, the city confirmed that 8,566 cubic meters of soil had gone to Taro, with the rest being transported to another GFL site in Toronto.
Alfano pointed out that the soil, which included slag from the steel industry, met all of Taro’s acceptance criteria to be classified as non-hazardous solid waste before disposal there.
“This material has been rigorously tested. There was a third-party professional engineering consultant on site,” Alfano said during the CLC online meeting.
“There is a level that makes it dangerous, then below that level the criteria allow it to be non-dangerous,” he said. “We only take non-hazardous materials.”
Citizen member Jeff Isowa had questioned Taro’s receipt of the soil, citing articles from the Hamilton Spectator about the council’s decision to spend $3.3 million to remove it from the top of the reservoir, built in 1964, as part of of a $6.8 million rehabilitation project.
Although he incorrectly suggested the stories called the soil ‘dangerous’ – they said it was ‘contaminated’ – he said the council’s decision to remove it from the reservoir site appeared to reflect concerns about potential impacts on people, plants and wildlife.
“You’re just moving the problem from one area to another. That’s what it seemed to me,” Isowa said.
Michael Durst, district supervisor for the Department of Environment’s Hamilton District Office, said he didn’t have full details on the soil removal, but the waste had to pass a leachate toxicity test to go to Taro.
“Non-hazardous doesn’t mean that all the waste that comes in (to Taro) is contaminant-free,” he said. “They’re just at a level that isn’t deemed necessary to go into what would be considered a hazardous waste landfill.”
Upper Stoney Creek County Brad Clark said the city hired an independent company to test the soil and was told it would go to a non-hazardous landfill.
“There was a potential risk, albeit minimal, because the water tank is a sealed facility,” he said of the decision to remove the floor. “I am not aware of any test indicating that it was a hazardous or toxic material.”
Isowa said the answers “clarified” how the ground ended up in Taro.
“But still, as an outside member of the community, when you read stuff like that, things don’t add up without that kind of explanation,” he said.
Earlier in the meeting, Alfano told the CLC that liner construction for the landfill expansion to Green Mountain Road saw the site exceed provincial one-hour guidelines for fine dust particles 33 times in June, July and August.
He said the dry conditions and the construction’s proximity to the site’s only dust monitor were contributing factors.
For a second consecutive meeting, the CLC postponed consideration of a request to host an open house to address parents’ concerns about the proximity of the dump to the new school being built at the corner of Green Mountain and First West Road.
Councilor Cam Galindo, who made the request in March, was unable to attend due to a school board meeting being held at the same time, so the matter will now come before the next CLC meeting on December 12. .
Galindo will no longer be a director by then as he is not seeking re-election this fall.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We attended the September 12 CLC meeting to keep abreast of community concerns regarding the Taro dump.