St Clair Township gives Clean Harbors the green light of expansion: Minister still has a say

Clean Harbors, St. Clair Township

Clean Harbors has cleared one hurdle in its expansion plan.

The company wants to expand the 50-year-old hazardous waste site by piling up waste to the top of the current berm. It has submitted its plan to the Ministry of the Environment and is waiting for the approval of the Minister.

Lambton County Councillors have voiced concern about allowing the expansion, extending the life of the only hazardous waste site in the province. But recently, St. Clair Township approved a change to the Official Plan which will allow Clean Harbors to expand.

Mayor Steve Arnold says the township’s team of 14 experts examined the plan and gave the okay. He says the expansion plan will actually improve safety at the site.

“It cleans up the site that much better,” he says. “There will be a better leachate system in place and some of the areas will be rehabilitated.

“There will be better security for the site as a whole – it’s an enhancement and it makes it better than what the current site is.”

While Arnold knows members of the community have objections, he says the company is making a concerted effort to do better and the number of complaints about the site has dropped dramatically.

“It is the only hazardous waste site in the province of Ontario,” says Arnold.  “That’s the dark side of all the work that’s being done in all other industrial facilities. They all create waste…waste that has to be dealt with at a hazardous landfill site.

“What are you going to do with your waste especially when there is no other spot in the province of Ontario? It is the dark side of economic development…there is always a trade off – at least it is better than the old days.”