Odour complaints at landfill skyrocket

The site of a fire Sunday near Warwick File Photo

Heather Wright
The Independent

There has been a 600 per cent increase in complaints about the smell coming from Twin Creeks Landfill.
That from Peter Pickfield, the lawyer who heads Warwick Township’s technical review group on the landfill. For 11 years, it has monitored everything from the smell, air quality, how much waste is going into the Watford area landfill and how well the property is maintained.
Monday, Pickfield told Warwick councillors issues around the odours coming from the site are a big problem.
“We’ve had 600 per cent increase in noticeable odor complaints in 2019 over the previous year,” he says. Pickfield says some of that could have been related to a biosolid’s depot run by Lasalle Agri which has since closed. Councillors say residents were able to distinguish between the two smells.
Pickfield says Waste Management, which owns the landfill, doesn’t follow up on the complaints or even register them at times.
“The problem with WMs tracking is they can’t distinguish between the two (odours) because they don’t do proper tracking and monitoring themselves,” he says. “The have the odour issue and don’t do proper follow up either.”
Pickfield is recommending the township press for action.
“The township itself should continue to track its own complaints, as they’ve been doing, and report these to WM,” he says.
“We’re showing that because we get landfill complaints, and they should know about them.
“They owe us a response on a number of issues and see if we can resolve those issues,” says Pickfield.
He’s recommending a meeting with Waste Management and Pickfield suggests it time again to ask the Ministry of the Environment to provide daily inspections of the site.
Pickfield says since the MOE scaled back to weekly inspections, the company has doubled the amount of waste coming in.
“With a landfill of this size and scale and activity, we need daily ministry inspections to ramp up the quality of the work that’s being done here. And we’ve said this for a number of years since it was taken away from us about six or seven years ago by the ministry.
“They’re now up to weekly inspections but we think there’s no reason they shouldn’t be going to daily and we’re suggesting the township set up a meeting at a high level and try to convince the ministry that they should move to those daily inspections.
“It is the probably the busiest landfill in Ontario, if not Canada, in terms of the volume of truck traffic, the volume of loads of waste that come into the facility, and the general construction and other activity on the site. Right now it’s operating at almost twice its original approved capacity, because it obtained that substantial expansion.”
Councillor also voiced concerns about the landscaping around the landfill. Mayor Jackie Rombouts noted the long grass is only cut occasionally and then looks messy because everything is brown.
Councillor Todd White suggested instead of talking to the company about the problem which has been festering for years, the municipality should simply deal with it like a bylaw complaint to any other resident – give them 30 days to fix the problem or the township will do it for them and give them the bill.
Pickfield says he will investigate a way to “bring it more dramatically to the attention” of the company.
Meantime, council agreed to set up a meeting with Waste Management to talk about the odour issues.
They’ll also try to meet with senior officials with the MOE about daily inspections.