Council Presentation re: Sewage Discharge

Presentation to St. Albert City Council , Monday July 5, 2004

I would like to know why tonight’s agenda report on the landfill site monitoring does not contain even an initial written consultants’ report on the recent $200,000 new and improved EBA monitoring proposals of the landfill site or of the lab results on the orange sludge found seeping out of the embankment between the landfill site and the Sturgeon River.

ABC herewith requests copies of those reports.

On May 29, 2004, ABC copied City administration with a list of questions on the orange sludge issue. Those questions still need answers, and I expect them here tonight.

Next, I must congratulate the City for the recent sand-bagging of the worst of the pooling discharges in the river bank near the landfill sites. Since there really is no point in closing the barn doors after the horses have bolted, it leads to the conclusion that more fluid containing unpleasant surprises is expected to head towards the river. The sand-bagging a least admits to problems which can no longer be ignored.

This pro-active action shows great foresight and due diligence. I would like to interpret it as evidence of a first installment of the implementation of the EBA comprehensive Environmental Landfill Management Plan.

As you aware, I have laid a Private Information against the City under the Fisheries Act, Sec. 36(3), because I have probable and reasonable grounds to believe that the City did deposit or permit the deposit of a deleterious substance, namely Fe and Zn, in water frequented by fish, namely the Sturgeon River, and thus committed an offence under section 40 (2) of that Act. Under the Fisheries Act, the source of the substances–whether they originate from within the landfill site or from a rusting culvert–is immaterial.

Furthermore, under the Fisheries Act, the focus is on the substance being added to water frequented by fish. It prohibits the deposit of a deleterious substance in such water. There is no stipulation in sec. 34(1) (a) of the Act, which defines “deleterious substance”, that the substance must be proven to be deleterious to the receiving water.

In other words, “what is being defined is the substance that is added to the water rather than the water after the addition of substance.” (interpretation of s. 36.3 by Seaton J.A, in McMillan Bloedel.)

The exceedances of CCME guidelines for Aquatic Life Criteria, in this case of Iron and Zinc, are considered deleterious to aquatic organism.

I would like to conclude with the words of Justice L’Heureux-Dube, J. commenting on the Hudson Town pesticide case: “In order to achieve sustainable development, policies must be based on the precautionary principle. Environmental measures must anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of environmental degradation. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

Elke Blodgett

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Elke Blodgett