Old QC dump contents may be inventoried

  • Nov. 14, 2007 9:00 a.m.

Oil heaters containing PCBs, batteries, paint, pesticides and more could be sealed into containers that will someday deteriorate and make their way from the old dump into the Honna River watershed, according to one resident of Queen Charlotte. Val Malesku and her sister Wendy told people at the Nov. 5 QC council meeting that they will try to make an inventory of what might be in the dump. She also says dangerous cargo shipments came, but no one remembers them ever going off again.The Ministry of Environment issued a permit for the dump to MacMillan Bloedel in 1978 and the site was in operation until 1983. The issue is over the location of the drinking water intake for the village, either below or above the dump. Ms Malesku remembers that Sears recalled water heaters with PCBs in them in the late 1970s or early 1980s. She believes these were not transported off the islands and suspects they may be in the dump above the Honna River. Ms Malesku said she mentioned some of these hazardous items to the engineer from Piteau and Associates Andrew Holmes who presented a report to the town saying if the water intake was placed below the dump, the water would still meet Canada Drinking Water standards. She said Mr. Holmes told her he didn’t know how long it would take things like that to deteriorate. But he also said that other landfills in the province were likely operated in a similar fashion to the ones here and that the discharge from this one was not out of the ordinary. Still many citizens are uncomfortable drawing water from a site, when no one is sure what may still leach out. Resident Duncan White also noted that the region is susceptible to earthquakes and the dump is on a very steep slope above the river. He worries that entire sections of the landfill could fall into the Honna River after an event. Mayor Carol Kulesha has made it clear that because the reports says the water is safe, she is not likely to be able to find more funding for the project. Ms Malesku hopes if people come forward with information about how much toxic stuff is in the dump, the village will be able to find more funding to ensure the water will be safe into the future. In the meantime, office staff at the Village of Queen Charlotte continue to receive responses to the poll which went out in last week’s utility bills. Sandra Brown at the village office said so far 63 have been returned. Forty-seven have voted that they would like to see the intake moved, and are willing to take on the required debt and 16 have voted no to taking on debt. Those with Queen Charlotte water accounts have until Tuesday (Nov. 20) to make their views known to the village office.