Compost site threatens drinking water
by Blair McCarron
Oshawa Express (Page 3)
Nov. 2, 2005
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Oshawa residents are concerned over a compost site in the
north end which they say is leaking contaminants into the
groundwater which could threaten their drinking water.
Their fears were sparked after a large fire broke out at the
compost site, which is located near the intersection of Coates
Road and Harmony Road. The compost site is owned by a company
called Courtice Auto Wreckers, and acts as a dump site where
debris is dropped by the truckload.
Deb Vice is co-chair of a local community group called Protect
the Ridges. The group is a collection of concerned neighbours
who live close to the compost site. The group formed five
years ago and is working together to draw environmental awareness
to the site. Members of the group draw their drinking water
from wells on their properties, which are located nearby.
The group has become concerned about the regulations and the
policing of what is being dumped at the compost site. "Complete
lack of responsibility and accountability for the dumping,"
Vice said she believes her families well water may be at risk
of contamination from the dump site less than four kilometres
from her home. According to group members, run off from the
compost site is harmful to local well water and the city water
source, as Ambrose's property is close to the headwaters of
the Oshawa Creek.
The compost site is owned by Harvey Ambrose. He declined to
return a call by the Oshawa Express prior to deadline. However,
in a city hall meeting on October 5, 2005, Amborse stated
that his compost site on Harmony Road is monitored and has
been under continuous strict compliance for several years.
Ambrose responded to a group member's concerns at this meeting
saying he would be prepared to be part of the plan and would
willingly participate to help improve any of his operations
which may need more regulated planning.
At the meeting, city councillors asked the provincial environment
ministry to investigate the compost site, and consider whether
the owner needed a certificate of approval to operate.
They also asked him to improve the operation of the site pertaining
to truck traffic, safety and to limit the risk of another
fire. Councillors also asked the provincial environment ministry
to clean up the site, including all buried debris. Members
of the community group said they were not satisfied with the
level of provincial government regulation on the compost site,
saying they were unsatisfied with the results of a one-year
provincial environmental monitoring program.
"We're responsible for our own wells. We feel it is a
poor area for a massive dump site."
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