Asbestos disposal – Sorting Centre awaits approval for “engineered” landfill

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Allyson Beauregard


Allyson Beauregard

LITCHFIELD – In October last year, the Pontiac Sorting Centre, located in the Industrial Park, was fined over $40,000 by the Ministry of the Environment for four non-compliance issues stemming from 2013 and 2015; asphalt shingles stored outdoors, non-waterproofed sorting surfaces, wood and metal stored outside the specified asphalted surfaces, and not ensuring materials were stored, processed and disposed in authorized areas.
According to Sophie Gauthier, Ministry of the Environment spokesperson, the business received 10 notices of non-conformity since 2013. The most recent inspection in October 2018 found an increase in the materials stored outside of authorized areas (now estimated at more than 650 tons) and that concrete slabs still need to be installed.
“Some work has been done. We’re still not perfect, but we’re working on it,” said Gerry Philippe, Sorting Centre Director of Operations, noting the fines will not hinder the Centre’s future. 
The business currently has two certificates of authorization: to operate the sorting centre and to handle asbestos, and they have applied for a third in order to open an “engineered landfill” on the property they own across the road from the
current facility.
Asbestos and construction wastes not suitable for re-use or recycling would be
disposed at the site.
The Sorting Centre currently employs about 25 people, but Philippe estimates this will double if the landfill is approved. A response is expected within the next few weeks. In the future, Philippe said the operation could be expanded to accept household garbage, which would reduce the costs and environmental impacts of transporting it over 200 kilometres to Lachute.  
Although the majority of waste will continue to be repurposed or recycled, between 18-20 divisions will be created at the landfill, which Philippe estimates will last 15-20 years.
“The property will be divided into a series of segments where holes will
be dug and materials buried. When one is hole is full, we will move to the next,” explained Philippe, stressing each hole will be protected with a double liner system to prevent leaching and that daily monitoring and frequent reports to the Ministry are required.
Asbestos requires extra precautions; it must be covered by a layer of soil daily to prevent particles from becoming airborne. Philippe said most of the asbestos received at the Centre comes from Amor Construction, where he is  Director of Operations. It is currently stored in covered areas and double-bagged in specialized bags, he claimed.
According to Philippe, this third authorization, which he labelled a “cornerstone” of the Sorting Centre operation, will create “an entirely different ball game” for the business and help them meet Ministry standards and regulations.
In addition to being able to remove and dispose of the “mountain” of debris on
site, the additional revenue generated from the landfill will fund the installation of the concrete slabs and any other work the Ministry requires. “We need the
revenue from the landfill, because you have to make money in order to spend it,” he concluded.