Saturday, July 1, 2017


This is a difficult post. The risks while real are at this point in time unable to be accurately calculated. There have been incidents of explosions, chemical burns and fumes affecting people at former landfills that were turned into parks and playgrounds. That said literally thousands of former landfills across the continent have been turned into soccer fields, parks and playgrounds without major incidents. Think of Mclennan Park (Ottawa St. landfill) in Kitchener. Think of Bolender Park here in Elmira.

Mclennan Park has had issues with subsidence as the garbage below rots and compacts resulting in buildings including washrooms being damaged. Recently there was an issue with water drainage pipes near the surface being found with high levels of methane in them. Do not forget that way back in the late 70s homes around the edge of the Landfill had to be abandoned due to methane infiltration into their basements at or near explosive levels.

The Bolender Landfill has had decades of monitoring via gas probes. The results are up and down like a toilet seat. Some monitoring events have astonishingly high methane concentrations and then the next ones zero, all at the same location. There have however been huge issues with the reliability of these gas probes. Ditto with the reliability of the Methane Gas Collection System which operated from 1984 till maybe 1998 (sort of). Conestoga Rovers literally were advising Woolwich Township to abandon their Collection System over a period of years because it wasn't working. Bizarrely when this was done a new one was not built to replace it. The issue wasn't a lack of methane gas available to be vented into the atmosphere; it was that probes and piping were blocked either with debris or high groundwater levels.

It is my opinion that Woolwich Councils past and present have cherry picked the good results while turning a blind eye to the bad results. This has been assisted by certain Woolwich Staff who may have spoon fed them pablum in regards to these problems. Credit also should go to the reports submitted by Conestoga Rovers and Associates (CRA) to the Township. Their recommendations and concerns from year to year were also up and down like a toilet seat. Also their choice of locations as well as the monitoring frequency of the gas probes leaves an awful lot to be desired.

Since 1983 the emphasis and focus of these reports has been on but one of four possible receptors. Initially they looked at three of four possible receptors namely to the north and west of the landfill as well as residential homes to the east. Since then the location of gas probes as well as the frequency of monitoring have focused on but one location. What has NEVER been examined is gas migration southwards. In fact CRA even suggested that southward migration was impossible due to the presence of Canagagigue Creek. Well simply look at a map or attend Bolender Park and tell me whether or not the creek cuts off the Park from the former Landfill directly north of it.

Speaking of the location of the Landfill there may be yet another problem. All the maps provided by CRA show the Landfill as north of the Park and west of High St.. Yesterday I had the privilege of talking to two longtime residents of the area. No they were not 21 years old, they were substantially more mature and knowledgeable of local history. They advised me that garbage was buried underneath the Park itself. That is quite a revelation. At this point in time I have two conflicting pieces of evidence regarding the Landfill's location. Perhaps more citizens with direct knowledge and memory will come forward. If accurate those recollections may redefine the whole feeble effort to date to "manage" the methane problems in the former Bolender landfill.

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