The City of Red Deer is ensuring old landfill sites are not impacting the environment.
Monitoring was conducted near Gaetz Lake Sanctuary recently to test for any possible landfill leaching, says Tracy Seppala, waste management technical specialist.
“We have no concerns to do with the lake or anything in the sanctuary at this time,” Seppala said.
“Based on our previous results, we don’t expect anything will come out of that (monitoring). We’re just trying to make sure we cover all of the bases and do the right thing.”
Prior to 1972, the City of Red Deer operated a number of small landfills. In many cases, the city has grown and developed around these former landfill sites, including one located on part of the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School property from 1965-67.
In 2015, the city completed the first stage of its Landfill Risk Assessment Project, which involved testing of nine former landfill sites, including the one at Lindsay Thurber.
This testing was done to help the city better understand the potential impacts of former landfills on the environment and nearby properties.
Landfill leaching could have varying levels of impacts, Seppala explained.
“It always depends on the site, the soil conditions and the composition of the waste that was disposed of there,” she said.
“For this particular site, the flow of the groundwater is actually toward the northwest, so we’re not expecting anything near the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary at all.”
A well had previously been installed by the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary so groundwater levels could be monitored. Seppala said that well was built during a winter season so no natural habitats were disturbed.
“We put it close to the lake to just make sure that our previous information was correct and the groundwater conditions were flowing the opposite way and away from the lake,” she said.
A consultant recently took groundwater levels at that site.
“From that, they use the elevation to paint a picture of which way the groundwater is flowing,” she said.
“They’ve also taken a sample at that well of the groundwater there and they’ve sampled the wells on the actual site as well.”
The city’s Landfill Risk Assessment Project has been ongoing for about a decade.
“Our previous information has indicated things are good and we don’t have to worry about groundwater effects in this area, but we want to do our due diligence to make sure,” she said.
The city is expecting an environmental report this fall. Seppala said the plan is to update the city website with the latest information in the near future. To learn more about Red Deer’s Landfill Risk Assessment Project visit www.reddeer.ca/landfillassessment.
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