LITCHFIELD – The Pontiac Sorting Centre, located in the Pontiac Industrial Park, has had another run in with the Ministry of the Environment after Minister Benoit Charette issued an order on May 3 for the business to cease the deposit and landfilling of all types of residual materials in unauthorized places on three of their lots and restore them back to their original states. A prior notice was sent to the company on February 18.
The Centre has 15 days from the date of the order to submit a restoration plan and a list of work needs to be done: removing improperly-stored materials and transporting them to authorized locations; installing all of the concrete platforms specified in their certificate of authorization; and dismantling a sorting surface made from asphalt shingles and transporting them to appropriate areas within 120 days.
Within 30 days of completion, a report must be sent to the Ministry confirming the work was done in accordance with the pre-approved plan. An exhaustive testing of soil and water that could have been contaminated must follow within 45 days of the restoration work and the results will be reviewed by the Ministry. In the case of contamination, the Centre will be required to have the Ministry approve a rehabilitation plan and follow through with it within 30 days of approval.
The Centre has a history of non-compliance with Ministry regulations and has received 10 notices of non-conformity since May 2013. They were fined over $40,000 last fall for four offences dating back to 2013 and 2015; asphalt
shingles stored outdoors, non-waterproofed sorting surfaces, wood and metal stored outside the specified asphalted surfaces, and not taking appropriate measures to ensure materials were stored, processed and disposed of in authorized areas.
An inspection in October 2018 found the amount of materials stored outside
of authorized areas had increased (now estimated at more than 650 tons) and
concrete slabs still need to be installed.
The MRC Pontiac and Litchfield council recently resolved to send letters of
support for the Centre’s proposed “technical landfill” project to the Minister of the Environment, Québec. Both say the authorization will allow the business to come into conformity with Ministry regulations, and will create and maintain jobs.
The project has been in the works since May 2014 when the business first
submitted an application to the Ministry for a certificate of authorization, which is
still being analyzed.
The landfill would be created across the road from the Sorting Centre where asbestos and construction waste not suitable for re-use or recycling would be buried in holes protected with a double liner system.
Gerry Philippe, Sorting Centre Director of Operations, claims the authorization, which he labelled a “cornerstone” of the Sorting Centre, will create “an entirely
different ball game” for the business by allowing them to dispose of the “mountain” of debris on site.
Philippe says that despite answering all of the Ministry’s inquiries and requests and
hiring specialized professionals to draft plans, 6 years later, they have yet to approve an authorization that offers a solution. “Instead, we receive notices of non-conformity.
It would be regrettable to have to [close the business] because of a lack of collaboration from the Ministry,” he said. Read more about this issue in our next edition.