An provincial environmental protection officer has identified several areas of concern at the Revelstoke landfill.
The issues include improper groundwater management, an abundance of birds on site and excessive litter at, and around, the landfill.
The owner of the site, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, could face a fine of up to $300,000 if it does not make the changes required in the report by the beginning of September.
“The CSRD is surprised by this heavy-handed approach, given the site has not been inspected by the province since 2012,” CSRD environmental health team leader Ben Van Nostrand said in an email statement.
“As well, the CSRD has received no feedback from them on our annual reporting, which describes in detail the site activities and operations.”
During his site inspection June 11, officer Keith Connolly found landfill operators were not using litter control fencing, or picking up litter frequently enough.
He witnessed exposed waste on the slopes of the landfill, indicating it was not properly covered.
In his report, Connolly said covering the exposed trash would also lead to better wildlife management — in particular, birds.
The officer said the CSRD was not monitoring landfill gas, which is required by the management plan that was approved by the B.C. environment ministry in 2007.
The CSRD was also not fulfilling the requirement that geotechnical inspection and landfill surveys be done every two years, he said.
The leachate management methods identified in the 2007 plan were not implemented at the time of inspection.
Groundwater at several monitoring wells within the property exceeded water quality guidelines and there is not water diversion system to minimize surface water run-off and groundwater seepage from entering the landfill.
Another strike against the CSRD was the worker qualified by the B.C. landfill operator training program was not always on site during opening hours, which is mandatory, according to the agreement.
Though residents of the area previously expressed concern about dust, the officer did not identify dust from the landfill as a problem.
“The CSRD is now actively taking steps to address the compliance issues identified in the report,” Van Nostrand said.
Along with the day-to-day operations at the site, the officer outlined concerns with the planning and management of the site as well.
Under the Environmental Management Act and the operational certificate issued for the landfill, the CSRD has to submit an updated design and operations management plan every five years.
The last time a plan was approved by the ministry was in 2007, and though the CSRD submitted an updated plan June 3, it has yet to be approved by the ministry.
The officer also noted the CSRD had not been submitting five-year reports, nor has it been reviewing and updating its operations and maintenance manuals on an annual basis.
There were also several missing pieces from the annual reports as well.
Another concern was insufficient reserve funds. According to the management plan, the liability of the landfill is around $7.6 million but the CSRD only has $1.3 million in its reserve fund and that fund covers Salmon Arm, Golden, Sicamous and Revelstoke.
The value of the closure funds is required to meet or exceed the estimated closure and post-closure costs.
The warning letter from the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change was issued Aug. 2, 2019, and the CSRD has 30 days to submit a response to the ministry advising corrective measures have been taken.