Nov 1 2001

Kingston Whig-Standard

Ottawa kicks in $100,000 to help clean Belle Park

The City of Kingston has been awarded $100,000 in federal money to clean up Belle Park. Pending court approval, the city will build a wetland around the old dump and plant trees.

Paul MacLatchy, the City’s environmental engineer, said yesterday that a man-made marsh will help purify garbage juice leaking from the site. Fast-growing poplar trees will soak up some of the dirty water beneath the surface.

In 1999, a justice of the peace ordered the City to cover the abandoned dump with clay. The City has used that method on other landfills, but is reluctant to spend some $13-million to cap Belle Park because it doesn’t believe a clay cover will stop the leaching. Leachate, or a runoff of water mixed with garbage, is usually caused by rainwater, MacLatchy said. But at Belle Park, much of the garbage is below water level, so the rise and fall of the Cataraqui River – as opposed to rain – is the main cause of leachate, MacLatchy said. “Putting a cap on it doesn’t solve the biggest part of the problem” MacLatchy will propose to the court next week that the City be allowed to continue with natural remediation rather than placing a clay cap.

Belle Park was the City’s dump site between 1950 and 1970. It was officially closed in 1974.

The Environmental Bureau of Investigation and the Ontario Ministry of Environment laid charges against the City in 1997 for allowing the leakage of chemicals deemed hazardous to fish.

The grant announced this week will be added to $125,000 set aside by council and used to pay for a feasibility study of MacLatchy’s project, said CAO Bert Meunier.