| Apr 26, 2007

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Feature Article - April 26, 2007

South Frontenac on theGrid:a trade-off?



In a presentation to Council’s Committee of the Whole, John Bowen of Hydro One expressed concern that if Hydro were not allowed to use herbicides in South Frontenac, the cost of keeping hydro right-of-ways clear of brush would become very high. He explained that trees and brush had to be controlled to ensure reliability of service and minimize power restoration costs. They use an ‘integrated approach’: a combination of manual and mechanical brush cutting, and herbicides. The main goal is to develop a thick growth of low plants such as sumac, dogwood, currents, berry bushes, roses, etc, which they term ‘compatibles’. These plants don’t interfere with the power lines, and help shade out the trees that are a problem. Because hand-cut tree stumps tend to put out brushy second growth, these stumps are treated with herbicide. The chemical used is Garlon 4, a 30% solution of triclopyr ester in mineral oil. This is applied by hand-spraying stumps and trunks close to the ground. The effect is to stimulate such rapid growth that the plant cells rupture and the plant dies. By avoiding widespread spraying, and spraying in cool weather, Bowen said there was no drift. He emphasized that Garlon 4 does not move into the water table, as it binds to soil particles, where it is broken down by fungi, bacteria and sunlight (average half-life is 30-46 days). It is considered harmless to humans, animals and insects, but is not approved for application to water, so Hydro maintains provincially mandated buffer zones near lakes and streams. Bowen said all landowners are contacted prior to hydro entering their land, and individual wishes to avoid herbicides are respected.WASTE MASTER PLAN

CEO Burns stated that the question of the township commissioning a waste master plan had been bounced back and forth between Council and the Sustainability Committee without resolution, and it was time to make a decision. His recommendation was that a waste master plan would provide useful information for Council. Councillor Hahn asked Guy LaPorte, of Totten, Sims & Hubicki, who was present, to briefly describe such a plan. LaPorte said it would examine waste management from beginning to end, including generation rates, collection, recycling and disposal procedures. It would examine issues such as hazardous household waste and the status of waste disposal sites. The goals would be to find ways to improve service, reduce cost and preserve the environment. A straw vote showed only the Portland councilors opposed: the issue will come before a regular council meeting for a formal decision.

LANDFILL SITE ANNUAL REVIEW, or where is Portland getting all that garbage?

LaPorte reminded council that since 1985, every landfill certificate of approval has required monitoring of surface water and groundwater, and a report to the MOE and council. The Loughborough landfill, which had had very few years left, now should be good for another 15 years at the present rate of fill. This reflects a change of approved footprint, not capacity. (Each landfill site when approved is assigned a specific capacity and that figure, combined with the rate of use, determines the projected life of the site.) The change at Loughborough resulted from a combination of firmer packing, and the discovery that a large portion of the used section was several feet shallower than allowable. This permitted another area of the site to be approved for use.

Portland landfill on the other hand, although it has a large capacity which was assigned based on total acreage, is rapidly running out of useable space, because much of the property is under water. This is further complicated by the somewhat puzzling fact that usage for the past two years has been twice as high as the projected estimate, which is based upon historical use. While Loughborough produced 1.2kg of waste/person/day, Portland had almost 7kg/person/day.

Councillor Robinson suggested that residents did "a lot of clean-out" before the dump rates went up. LaPorte noted that bag tags had had a huge effect on Amherst Island, reducing their rate to 0.7kg, and user fees lowered Ernestown/Bath to 0.6kg.

Bedford, on the other hand, showed a net increase of capacity in the Massassaga site: "Suppose we’ve been sneaking loads down to Portland?" asked Councillor Stowe. LaPorte suggested the increase may have been due to more aggressive grading and packing. The Fish Creek and Crow Lake sites, though closed, are still being monitored, and LaPorte noted that the Bradshaw site was "very well situated", and might eventually be able to be expanded.

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