St. Clair’s experts looking at Clean Harbors expansion plans


St. Clair Township Council hopes to take a look at the postitives and negatives of Clean Harbor’s expansion in a couple of days.

Clean Harbors, the only hazardous landfill site in Ontario has been working on the expansion plan since 2009.

Clean Harbors proposed piling the waste 20 feet up the existing berms instead of building a new landfill to the south of the current site on Petrolia Line near Brigden Side Road. It was an option suggested several years ago, and Mike Parker, Clean Harbor’s director of environmental compliance says every regulatory agency seems to agree it is the best option.

“Vertical expansion has less impact to ground water, less impact to surface water and less removal of agricultural land from production,” he said recently.

Clean Harbors has released its final draft of the plan and St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold says the municipality’s panel of experts is examining every angle – everything from air and ground water quality to increase traffic on the roads.

Arnold says the municipality’s lawyer is working with a team of 14 people to study the document which is several binders thick.

“They’re supposed to have everything done for us to review hopefully by Thursday,” says Arnold. He hopes council will be able to review the report by Aug. 25 – the time line the company has set for any questions before it submits its final report to the Ministry of the Environment.

Arnold says so far about $300,000 has been spent on making sure the expansion doesn’t hurt the neighbours. “We want to make sure that people are protected,” says Arnold. “That’s why we went the way we did to have experts look at it.”

But the municipality hasn’t had to shell out a penny. It, as well as the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, chose their own experts and submit the bills to Clean Harbors which picks up the cost of the anaylsis.

“Everything is done on an independent basis,” says Arnold. “It is the normal practice for expansion and development…It is not required by law but it goes a long way with the Minister (of the Environment) if you are willing to help so the municipality doesn’t go bankrupt.”