Eight former landfill sites in Red Deer will be tested in the coming year as part of a City initiated project to better understand the potential impacts former landfills can have on the environment and nearby properties. This testing comes after The City wrapped up the first stage of the project in 2015.
“As is the case in many other communities, there are a number of sites in Red Deer that were once used for landfilling purposes and, over time, development has taken place around these former landfill sites,” said Tim Ainscough, Environmental Services Manager. “However, with improvements in science and technology, we know more today about the potential effects buried waste can have on the environment and people’s health than we did 50 years ago, and this multi-stage project is about building on the information we already have, and fully understanding whether any of the eight former landfills is having an impact on the environment or nearby properties,”
Nine landfill sites were tested as part of the first stage of the project. It was determined that one of the nine sites was not, in fact, a landfill; however, further testing is now needed on the eight remaining sites after initial test results showed some landfill related impacts. The second round of testing aims to determine if chemicals released during the breakdown of landfill debris are present in the groundwater or if any potentially harmful volatile compounds are present (soil gases).
Residents and property owners who live or own property near these sites, and may potentially be impacted by the testing, are being directly notified by The City. The eight former landfill sites that will be tested during the second stage of the project include:
- Great West Adventure Park Landfill Site
- McKenzie Trails Landfill Site
- Lindsay Thurber Landfill Site
- Red Deer College Landfill Site
- Red Deer Motors Landfill Site (Referred to as the former Red Deer Motors site because it was a landmark at the time. This name in no way indicates that Red Deer Motors was responsible for landfilling on the site)
- Riverside Light Industrial Park Landfill Site
- Riverside Heavy Industrial Park Dry Waste Site
- Montfort Landfill Site
In the case of the former Montfort landfill site, located in Highland Green, The City will initiate in-home air quality sample tests for the homes located directly adjacent to the former landfill site. This testing is recommended due to the proximity of the former landfill site to these properties. It aims to determine if there is any potential impact to the indoor air quality of the homes.
“At this time, we have no conclusive test results that indicate people’s property is being directly impacted by the former landfill at Montfort, but we do know that in some cases landfill gases can migrate through soil and collect in confined spaces; therefore, we are offering in-home air quality testing for those properties located within 100 metres of the former landfill site,” said Ainscough.
While recommendations from the first stage of the project only calls for in-home air quality sample testing on two or three properties located adjacent to the former Montfort landfill site, The City wants to ensure residents and property owners feel confident in the testing; as such the offer for testing is being extended to all residents located within 100 metres of the site.
With the exception of the former Montfort landfill site, further testing on the seven other sites will involve groundwater and soil gas sampling of the sites themselves. Although this testing was conducted during the first stage of the project, further testing is necessary because conditions in the groundwater and soil can change with
the seasons as temperatures go up and down throughout the year. The second round of testing will enable The City to build upon initial results, which were collected during just one season.
“Because we are collecting seasonal data, it may take up to 24 months before the next stage of the project is complete,” said Ainscough. “However, the health and safety of citizens is our first priority, and we are committed to sharing information with citizens as soon as it is available.”
The City of Red Deer has been, and will continue to, work with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Environment as it implements further testing.
Citizens who have questions can contact the landfill risk assessment phone line at 403-406-8716 or go online to . More information, including the full report, which contains initial results from the first stage of testing are posted on The City’s website.
Landfill Risk Assessment Project - Q&A (pdf)
For more information, please contact:
Tim Ainscough, P. Eng.
Environmental Services Manager
The City of Red Deer
Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer