Opinion

Cleanup warning

I’ve read the articles on the local initiatives to clean-up the waste dumped at Little Mountain.

I had the fortune to live on the mountain a while and really got to know the network of trails around the mountain.

While dog-walking or bike riding, we certainly avoided the dumpsite. It’s very disappointing to see such a mess in such a beautiful location. Based on observations, it appears to have gone on a long time, which gets me to my point.

I’m an environmental scientist and have worked on contaminated sites across Canada for over 15 years. I have a concern with the potential exposure to contaminants or hazardous materials by the volunteers cleaning up.

Given the age of wastes there could be an assortment of wastes that really should be handled and removed carefully including potential waste asbestos-containing materials, lead-based paints, poly-chlorinated biphenyls (in old electronics), fuels, etc. There is potential for exposure by touching, disturbing/inhalation or spilling of rusty drums.

I’m not trying to frighten, only warn. I understand the concern and want it gone myself. I’ve written to the Ministry of Environment with my concerns a while ago, with no comment returned.

There are potable (drinking water) wells on Little Mountain. A clean-up will require a lot of coordination or innovation due to the lack of access.

Once the waste materials are removed there should be confirmatory soil sampling for a number of contaminants of potential concern and I’d hope a groundwater evaluation to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. Perhaps more pressure can be put on the ministries to clean-up this contaminated site and valued natural area.

Jane MacIntosh

Errington

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