Six years ago, and again two years ago, we had to fight to stop a major drilling program on the German Mills Meadow and Natural Habitat. Markham’s excuse then was ‘methane emissions’, although a senior City staff member recently said, ‘It was to see if the site was suitable for other purposes.’
Unfortunately, we are once again fighting to prevent a substantial drilling program. Markham’s excuse this time is ‘leachate’.
The City of Markham has retained a consultant who is recommending the drilling of eleven wells to track leachate from the old Sabiston Landfill – the area now designated the German Mills Meadow and Natural Habitat. (The consultant recommending the work is the one who has been retained to perform the work, if it goes ahead.)
Why is the work needed? We have been asking that question over and over since last April. We haven’t been given a satisfactory answer.
The consultant has written, ‘It should be noted that the groundwater quality monitoring indicates that the composition of leachate parameters in groundwater at this Site are not changing significantly over time, which is consistent with the fact that the site has been closed since approximately 1975 (i.e. for 38 years).’
Leachate has not been a problem for 38 years, it is not getting worse with time, and leachate is not reaching the German Mills Creek. So why is new drilling required now? It doesn’t make sense.
The data we have been given, which the consultant claims supports the need for new drilling, includes the chemical analysis of water drawn from the former Sabiston Landfill site. The worst results come from a depth of 18 meters, and the level of contaminants at that depth exceeds the standard for drinking water. So, if you are out for a walk, and forget your water bottle, please don’t drill down 18 meters and drink the water. You haven’t been doing that? We thought not.
The proposed drilling would entail large tracked vehicles being on site for about a month. They would churn up the ground and encourage the spread of invasive plant species, over the indigenous flora. There would be noise and fumes, which would be detrimental to birds and wild animals in the short term, possibly driving some of them away from the site for an indefinite time. The drilling program would also be a waste of tax dollars.
Markham has established a Community Liaison Committee. SPRA representatives on the Committee are diligently opposing this drilling program. We will keep you informed of developments.
Settlers Park Residents Association.