New Brunswickers challenge Irving's toxic dump
Grand Lake: What's going on?

By Shunpiking Online

(17 May 2004) -- On April 21, the day before Earth Day in New Brunswick, more than 200 people travelled to Fredericton to rally at the Legislature. Their concern: an industrial waste landfill dump planned for Grand Lake area near Chipman, NB -- and to be built by and for J.D. Irving Ltd. This scheme poses an enormous contamination risk to the the freshwater ecosystem in the centre of the province. The mass delegation was demanding that the Minister of the Environment initiate an Independent Environmental Assessment into the scheme.

Provincial environment minister Brenda Fowley declined their request to meet on the Legislature steps. "Many people felt strongly that she should have at least made an appearance to show her respect for us", the group noted in a recent release. "The Minister offered to meet a small group (of 4 or 5) inside."

During that meeting the Minister said construction of the landfill would not begin in June 2004 (as proposed) and "there would be no surprises."

The delegation's news release points out: "The project is in Phase 2. The Department of the Environment is still reviewing the application, so keep on sharing information we have with them. The Irvings are planning a public meeting -- date to be announced. She cannot determine whether an independent environmental assessment is required until Phase 2 is finished."

The site will receive waste from J.D. Irving operations: fly ash, bottom ash, lime mud, and grits and dregs from Irving's pulp and paper mill in Saint John and "may include paper mill sludge, wood wastes and other bulk wastes for which alternative methods may not be available in the future"

The Irving's pulp and paper mill in Saint John? In 1999, it was producing 3,663 tonnes of pollutants annually, primarily methanol.

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The day after the rally on the steps of the Legislature, on April 22nd, Irving Oil was a lead promoter of Earth Day -- in Vermont, a name that originates as a corruption of the phrase "Green Mountain", in another language. Well, pardon our French.

• • •

Irving's massive industrial waste landfill dump in Grand Lake

Why is this a bad idea?

• Location, location, location!

• In the Grand Lake watershed

• Bordered by Coal Creek stream (feeds directly into Grand Lake) and Crown Lands

• The rock in the area is badly fractured due to years of heavy blasting and deep strip mining. Where bedrock is fractured, wastes cannot be located if they escape

• Bare soils in the project area are subject to "severe risk of erosion." (Agriculture Canada Water Erosion risk mapping, 1992)

• There is some geological evidence that Coal Creek sits on a fault line. The Current Department of Environment Site Selection Guidelines state:

"The waste site should be located where a considerable thickness of relatively impermeable material exists. Highly fractured bedrock zones which can be associated with major faults or areas located along the axial surfaces of regional folds should be avoided" (4.0 Hydrogeological Criteria page A-5 Subsection 4.3)

• The bedrock has high potential for acid generation if disturbed


• Massive -- approximately 180 hectares (360 acres) in size

• The first waste cells would be slightly larger than two football fields and about four and a half stories deep (or high), where approximately 70 thousand tons of the waste stream will be dumped annually (12 year capacity)

• Additional industrial waste landfill cells (Phase 2 and Phase 3) are proposed on adjacent crown lands (for remainder of 50 years)

Wetland and loss of habitat

• A wetland will be used for sediment control and site runoff

• Wood turtles (designated as a Species of Special Concern), salmon, brook trout and beaver habitat will be threatened

• Bald eagles presently nest in the vicinity

Waste stream

• Leach tests show residues are highly alkaline - pH levels up to 12.5 Acceptable range is 6.5 - 9 (The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME)) Contaminants of concern are

• High levels of dissolved metals, up to 10 times the CCME acceptable levels, including Aluminum and Copper

• Significant amounts of reactive alkali and sulphide in grits and dregs

• Soluble sulphide and acetic acid if paper mill sludge is added, both of which are known to contribute to BOD5.

CCME guidelines for Fresh Water Aquatic Life require that waste treatment must eliminate all possible BOD5 before leachate is released.

• "Toxicity can vary greatly with water hardness and alkalinity and is unpredictable when substances are in combination" Substances, will be in combination in this industrial waste landfill.

The Leachate

• Irving will not know how they will treat the chemical compounds in the leachate until the project is underway. Leachate will be kept in a holding pond on the site for up to a year until they do.

• The "leachate" when treated is destined for Grand Lake via Coal Creek or, in the 'worst possible scenario case, trucked for disposal elsewhere.

Landfills leak

History shows us that all landfills eventually leak. Then the hazardous compounds in the land disposal facility will likely migrate into the broader environment. Man-made permeable materials used for liners are subject to being punctured and eventual deterioration. This may occur years after placement of the waste in the facility.

What can you do?

Call, email or write the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Tourism, The Premier or your local MLA

Brenda Fowlie,
Minister of the Environment

Tel.: (506) 453-2690


Join concerned citizens in your area and take stand

Request a comprehensive, independent environmental assessment

ACT NOW before it is too late!

For more information:
Opponents to the Grand Lake Industrial Waste Landfill Site
Randy Nason (506) 339-5448
Ann Leavitt (506) 339-6179


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