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Designed by Polly Ko

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," said Vice.

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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