Work to improve the Golden Landfill continues to move ahead following the B.C. Ministry of Environment’s approval of the updated Operational Certificate (OC) for the site earlier this year, according to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).
The ministry’s approval now requires the CSRD to submit a water quality improvement plan that addresses how the CSRD will reduce offsite contaminates and ensure drinking water sources for the Town of Golden are protected.
Based on recommendations from Ecoscape, the CSRD’s environmental consulting firm, a site has been selected for the drilling of a monitoring well to provide early notifications of any changes to groundwater composition.
“This will provide information that would allow for early detection of any changes long before there would be any impacts to the Town of Golden’s drinking water supply,” said Ben Van Nostrand, the CSRD’s team leader of environmental services.
On May 27, ministry of environment and Climate Change Strategy environmental protection officers Keith Connolly and Chris White conducted a planned on-site and office review inspection of the landfill.
The inspection assessed compliance for the period from September 1, 2020, to May 30, 2021, as ministry staff determined the CSRD was out of compliance with several sections of the OC.
Golden resident Andrea Weissenborn has been outspoken over the past few years about the Golden Landfills non-compliance.
“As you may be aware, for the past 30 plus years the CSRD has never done an adequate litter clean up on my family’s property adjacent to the Golden Landfill, despite having our full cooperation and unlimited access to the affected area,” she wrote in a Dec. 3 letter addressed to the CSRD board directors, Van Nostrand, Darcy Mooney and Charles Hamilton.
“I am not confident that the CSRD is committed to addressing the problems at this and other landfills under its supervision, given the time and energy that is spent in pushing back on concrete ruling and warnings.”
The CSRD, however, said it has been working to manage other challenges with the landfill site including surface water, litter control and wildlife mitigation measures.
Van Nostrand reviewed the progress at the Golden Landfill with the town council at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
In 2021, the CSRD invested $130,000 towards improving drainage on the site with the development of a series of rock-lined trenches.
This was completed using local contractors.
“The site improvements completed in 2021 are designed to keep surface water on the landfill property,” said Van Nostrand.
He also noted electric fencing to control wildlife has been raised from a five-foot-high fence to eight feet in height and will remain electrified year-round.
The CSRD will continue to work towards addressing litter complaints.
A CSRD board resolution passed at the November board meeting, allows the regional district to notify property owners of scheduled litter collection events.
“I respectfully ask that all CSRD directors and responsible staff exercise due diligence in their execution of powers and simply follow the regulations and legislation that governs solid waste management in our province to the benefit of all,” wrote Weissenborn.
Plans for 2022, include exploring options for food waste composting in Golden and starting work on a Solid Waste Management Plan review, which will involve community discussion on long-term options for the site. The review will consider a variety of solid waste management options, such as the possibility of closing the current landfill site, finding a new site for the landfill, or hauling waste to other locations.
Funding models, including tipping fee revisions, will also be explored to cover the cost of future closure works and engineering requirements for the Golden Landfill.