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August 11, 2005

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Ompah residents face dump closure

by Jeff Green

Mayor Ron Maguire and the entire North Frontenac Council faced a group of unhappy Ompah residents last week to confirm that the Ompah dump would be closing after Labour Day.

Guy Laporte, a senior engineer with Tottenham Sims Hubicki, made a presentation to the 40 or so residents in attendance.

“There are three options, really,” he said. “The dump can be closed, and the gates locked; the dump can be closed, and kept as a waste transfer station; or the township could apply for an expansion.”

Since there is a watercourse that flows through the foot of the dump site, Laporte said the Ompah site is not a good candidate for an expansion.


Councillor Bud Clayton chairs the Waste Management Committee of Council. He said that nobody should be surprised that this dump closing is happening.

“In 1993, the Palmerston/Canonto Council applied for the Mississippi site with the understanding that Ompah would be closed in 2004. The government has been asking us what we are doing with Ompah for 18 months now,” he said.

With the fate of the Ompah dump sealed, questions from the audience centred on the possibility of setting up a transfer station instead of closing the dump altogether.

“We considered a transfer station at the committee, and we don’t think it would work,’ was Bud Clayton’s first response.

“I was just wondering if you have taken into consideration people who can’t drive?” asked former municipal politician Barb Sproule.

Guy Laporte was asked what kind of approvals are needed for a transfer station.

He said that he knew of some transfer stations that were entirely portable. Something as small as a cube van hauling some recycling bins can be used as a transfer station. “At the end of the day, the contents are simply driven to the dump and unloaded,” Laporte said. “In those cases, no approvals are required, as far as I know.”

The question of a transfer station will likely come down to cost. There would be increased capital costs for a truck, perhaps a used crusher truck, and for the operator/attendant.

“I think we have to do the math on what it would cost for a transfer station,” said Councillor Will Cybulski.

While Council is doing the math, they will likely take into account that other dumps will be closing in the near future, and by establishing a transfer station in Ompah, they would be setting a precedent for other locations. The Cloyne dump, which is shared with Addington Highlands, will be closing in one year.

When a dump is closed, there are significant costs as well, mostly for extensive landfill to cap them. The estimated cost of closing the Ompah dump is $125,000.

“It’s going to be, probably, our biggest budget item, waste disposal, etc., in the next 10 years or so, even more than roads,” concluded Councillor Bud Clayton, who has been close to these issues as a member of the Waste Management

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