Municipal inspectors in Ormstown received multiple telephone calls on the morning of March 3 from residents reporting that loads of soil were being dumped on a lot located along the Lower Concession. By mid-afternoon, inspectors had visited the site and backfilling work in the field was stopped, at least temporarily.
“It has been so important that we have had citizens who have noticed and reported this activity with dump trucks entering our territory,” says Ormstown mayor Christine McAleer, who notes citizens can report this information anonymously to the town hall.
In an interview with The Gleaner, the mayor also spoke of the dump site first reported by citizens near two municipal wells on the Rang Dumas in Franklin, and the “headache” that site has been for the municipality. Ormstown filed an injunction against the property owners last August, andis currently fighting for the toxic soil to be removed at the owners’ expense.
Two characterization studies commissioned by Ormstown were completed on fill samples taken by Labo Montérégie last June and by Solmatech in August. In both studies, the soil was found to be contaminated to varying degrees with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, BTEX or benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes, and some metals. Solmatech estimates the amount of contaminated fill to be around 17,450 tonnes, including 13,980 tonnes of A-B contaminated soil, 2,626 tones of toxic B-C soil, and 844 tonnes that exceed the acceptable norms set out in the provincial Règlement sur l’enfouissement des sols contaminés (regulation respecting the burial of contaminated soils).
Both firms strongly recommend the removal of the contaminated soil, as it constitutes a potential threat to the integrity of the ground water and the two wells supplying Ormstown.
Lawyers for the municipality will resume their court case against the property owners at the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield courthouse on March 24.