County asks for landfill health risk study
The former site of Carmeuse Lime's quarry in Beachville, a proposed new landfill site. (File photo)
County Council is asking Walker Environmental Group to undertake a health risk assessment with an epidemiologist to investigate potential health effects associated with the proposed Beachville landfill.
At Wednesday's county council meeting, Ingersoll mayor Ted Comiskey presented a unanimously-supported motion to send a formal request to Walker to get the assessment placed on the first draft of the project’s terms of reference before it is released at the end of this month.
“A landfill of this magnitude, I don’t believe that studies have ever been done on what are the health effects of living inside one for a matter of 20 years or greater,” Comiskey said.
“If we have to do studies on plant life, air, wind, dust, water, certainly that overall health effect is something that must be addressed and must be looked into and it is only fair that it be placed on the terms of reference to be placed in front of a minister as one of the environmental assessments to be completed.”
Some members of council were unsure why it was necessary that the issue be dealt with at County Council as opposed to the joint municipal peer review coordinating committee, the expert panel tasked with handling issues associated with the proposed landfill.
As Comiskey explained, previous communication about the study between the committee and Walker yielded unsatisfactory results.
“Through working with the peer review, we have requested, saying we are very concerned about the health effects of the landfill and a long-term health study should be completed. It was kind of brought back to us that they did not believe at this point in time they felt that was a necessity,” Comiskey said.
“We are talking potentially 17 million tonnes of waste on a daily basis over a 20-year period with the bacteria’s being exposed to the residents of Oxford County. I think that should be studied. I think that should be looked into.”
Comiskey illustrated his point about waste exposure with an analogy.
“One of the things that hit home with me was the comment that if you had a dead skunk in the middle of the room, you would actually be breathing in particles of dead skunk,” he said.
“Living that close to a landfill, what are the effects? I’m not a scientist. I do not know but I certainly would like the health issue addressed… I think this is one of the major concerns of the residents of the area.”