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Don’t Gamble with the Water

Today in Russell Township (just south of Ottawa) residents are calling for a large demonstration outside a meeting being staged by Taggart-Miller, the proponents of a mega-dump in the community.

The Ottawa Citizen reported earlier this year:

“….The company, a consortium driven largely by Ottawa’s Taggart Construction, hopes to take 250,000 tonnes of mostly Ottawa-generated commercial, construction and demolition waste that is now shipped for recycling and landfill in New York State annually. Opponents say the project will draw more than 100 garbage trucks a day to its site north of Russell, which is surrounded by farms…..”

The community is united against this proposed dumpsite. They are concerned that the toxic leachate that every dump produces will leak into their groundwater and that having such a large facility in the middle of their rural community will be excessively disruptive and harmful.

The Ottawa Sun reports :

“ ….A new petition led by farmers is circulating against what could become the largest waste disposal and recovery centre in Ontario.

“We need farmland, not wasteland,” is the rally call of organizers, who argue that the proposed 400-acre-plus site consists mostly of prime agricultural land either owned or optioned by the proponents.

The petitioners have “serious grievances” with the proposal from Taggart Miller Environmental Services and are seeking an “absolute cease and desist order.” They’re worried the facility could pose a risk to the local water supply and call the chosen location at a decommissioned shale quarry “fundamentally unsuitable” for waste disposal.

The company led by Ottawa’s Taggart Construction and Markham’s Miller Group first announced what they named the Capital Region Resource Recovery Centre about 17 months ago. Almost immediately, a citizen’s committee known as Dump the Dump Now began lobbying against the plan to process 250,000 tonnes of Ottawa’s industrial, commercial and institutional waste in the first year.

Dump the Dump Now has already collected hundreds of signatures on a petition opposing the facility which it has presented to Russell Twp. council.

“The CRRRC isn’t going to happen,” said the anti-dump group’s leader, Walter Cholowski. “The citizens of this community have drawn a line in the shale”

Noting that the shale quarry operated continuously from the early 1900s to 2008, farmers opposed to the waste facility say the core of the site is 40 acres — 32 acres of which is a lake up to 32 feet deep.

“It contains groundwater which connects to surrounding wells and possibly connects to the Vars-Winchester aquifer, a crucial water source for Eastern Ontario,” the petition reads.

Taggart Miller says the aquifer is 4 km east of its site, is protected by the hydrogeologic setting, and will be further protected should the project proceed.

But opponents say the site features fractured shale bedrock, thin soil cover, high water table and headwaters of some streams and is close to many farms and homes, all of which make it unsuitable for the proposal.

Critics say that if landfill liners fail, toxic leachate could enter the aquifer, contaminating wells and other water supplies on nearby land.

The concerned farmers also note that more than 400 acres of Class 1 farmland would be permanently removed from production under the proposal.

Over time, they predict, other quality land could be tainted as air, water and soil contamination spreads, threatening farmers’ livelihoods.”


The Council of Canadians supports the rights of communities to reject proposals that force them to gamble with their groundwater.  Years of government cutbacks have destroyed what little oversight of industrial activity once existed.  As we learned from the successful campaign against Site-41, there is essentially no independent verification of the facts that proponents submit in the approvals process. Decision makers rely on the “professionalism and honesty” of the various engineers and contractors that are hired by the proponents to provide evidence that their project meets the criteria to be approved.  Ultimately, those that will have to live with the impacts and consequences of an industrial development should have the right to say no to it.

To join the protest today :

WHEN:          Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 3:30 p.m. to 9  p.m.

WHERE:       Russell Arena, 1084 Concession St., Russell

WHO:             The communities of Russell, Embrun, Vars, Carlsbad Springs, Limoges, etc.

For more info: