Back and forth in the legislature on the dirty dirt file
There have been at least three iterations of a closure plan for the contaminated landfill in the Shawnigan drinking watershed: two in 2017 and one just a few months ago. So says MLA Sonia Furstenau. (Sharon Vanhouwe, mycowichanvalleynow.com staff)
Our Cowichan Valley MLA wants to know what the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is planning to do to protect Shawnigan Lake from contamination.
In the Legislature, Sonia Furstenau asked the Minister, George Heyman about his plans for the dirty dirt dump site.
“Will the soil be allowed to stay or will the minister put the long term interests and well being of the people from Shawnigan Lake first and order the soil removed?”
Heyman replied he understands the concerns residents have and says his Ministry is still reviewing the options.
“The ministry is working hard to review the closure plans submitted, to gather all the information necessary to provide to me for a decision. Whatever the decision is it maintains the integrity of the drinking water for the residents. That decision will be made this spring.”
Furstenau said there’s a long list of problems with the monitoring of the site.
“The endless questions about the integrity of the liner beneath the landfill, the concerns raised by the Ministry of Environment hydrologist that the monitoring wells beneath the site are at the wrong depth to determine the impacts to groundwater, the interaction of the high levels of sulphur with the metals and hydrocarbons resulting in sulphuric acid, the contaminants showing up in the surface water below the site. This is a very short sample of a very long list of concerns about this site.”
Furstenau said Shawnigan Lake is one of the few natural water resource reservoirs on the South Island and it’s important to address the future of the drinking water supply.
George Heyman responded, “Our government takes the protection of drinking water, human health and, protection of the environment extremely seriously. That is why we are putting a tremendous amount in the ministry of diligence to reviewing all of the aspects of the closure plan.”