Taggart Miller Environmental Services proposes to turn 500 acres of a farming community in Russell Township, Ontario, into a giant waste disposal facility. Class One agricultural land around a century-old quarry would become a highly toxic, and very profitable, landfill.
The site contains a quarry containing a significant shale resource; farmland in use as crop, hayfield, pasture or woodlot; and a 32-acre lake. The site has high ecological importance, including breeding grounds for species-at-risk. It is right beside farms and residences, 2500 metres from three schools, a few kilometres from many more schools, and would irreparably harm several villages and many productive farms.
The quarry itself contains groundwater in a regional aquifer which likely connects to the Vars-Winchester esker, which supplies water to thousands of people. Headwaters of many streams rise on this hill and drainage ditches pass immediately beside it. These surface waters flow into the Castor River, and one stream into the Bearbrook, then the South Nation. Permanent contamination of rivers and groundwater is a matter of when, not if.
People all over Ontario are locked in similar battles whether over landfills, other waste sites or mega-quarries. We question the lack of protection of water. We question the destruction of farmland. We question the transparency of the Ontario MOE, MNR and OMB. We call for a moratorium on new landfills, an investigation into proponent-driven processes and a reassessment of landfill standards.
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