Nova Scotia

Harrietsfield recycling plant environmental orders met with skepticism

At least one local resident whose well was poisoned by leachate from the facility is sceptical the latest round of ministerial orders will lead to a cleanup.

Ministerial order imposes strict measures and timelines against two registered companies

Nova Scotia's minister of the environment has issued two new orders directing that environmental damage caused by this former recycling plant be assessed and repaired. (CBC)

Marlene Brown is tired of filling up water bottles from the tap a nearby church, a task she's forced to do because the well on her Harrietsfield property has been contaminated by leachate from a nearby construction debris recycling operation.

"I would just like to see the site cleaned up," she said.

Even so, she doesn't have much hope that two orders issued Friday by Environment Minister Margaret Miller directing the former operator of the site to assess and repair environmental damage will lead to a cleanup.

It's been a long fight for Brown ever since RDM Recycling went into business in Harrietsfield back in 2002. The facility was shut down in 2013 when the Halifax Regional Municipality revoked its licence.

Brown's well was one of many in the area contaminated by leachate from the facility.

"I've been carrying bottled water from St. Paul's Church in Spryfield and it's been going on three years now that residents from this community have been going to that church to fill up water bottles," said Brown.

"It's expensive to buy water."

'It's hard to get excited'

Previous ministerial orders had been issued by the Environment Department, including one back in 2010 that was appealed.

"It's hard to get excited over it when that long ago the same papers came up," said Brown. "I was excited then, but I'll have to see some changes before I feel that way again."

The orders issued Friday direct the two numbered companies that operated the site to follow a series of terms and conditions:

  • Engage the services of a qualified site professional by March 31 to conduct a site assessment, as defined by Nova Scotia's Contaminated Sites Regulations.
  • Submit the site assessment report prepared by the site professional by July 31.
  • Under the supervision of the site professional, review the integrity of all monitoring wells and replace or repair monitoring wells as required.
  • Increase the number of sampling points and provide further assessment.

Residents lobbied hard against the operation when it first opened for business, with 1,200 people signing a petition against it.

No timeline has been set for when the actual cleanup of the site will begin.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.