Since 1997, the City has spent over $5 million building and operating a number of remediation controls (projects) at the former Belle Park landfill site including:
The City has remained committed to working with the Ministry of the Environment and the community to manage the Belle Park site in a manner that is publicly acceptable, environmentally responsible and financially sustainable. The City, with input from the public has evaluated a number of alternatives for the long term management of the site. The preferred way forward involves naturalizing the park and using engineered tree and wetland systems to provide even greater levels of groundwater control and treatment.
Efforts To Date
Environmental Impact Study
Status: Completed in 1999
Details: A comprehensive compilation and analysis of environmental conditions at Belle Park to determine if there are any risks to users of the park or the environment. The study recommended several projects to improve the environmental performance of Belle Park. Many of those recommended projects are shown here. Copies of this study are available from the Kingston Public Library, the Queen's Documents Library or from the City.
Annual Monitoring of the Belle Park Environment
Cost: $75,000 a year
Status: Ongoing since 2000
Details: Monitoring of the environmental condition of the surface water, groundwater and pumped leachate (wastewater). The goal of the annual program is to identify trends in environmental quality and detect conditions which may require mitigating actions.
Annual Leachate Collection System Maintenance
Cost: $220,00 a year
Status: Ongoing since 1998
Details: Annual maintenance of installed groundwater collection wells, pumps and delivery piping.
Wetland Treatment Feasibility Study
Status: Completed in 2006
Details: Construction and monitoring of a small constructed wetland area to determine the effectiveness of the wetland for receiving groundwater discharge from the landfill site and removing or degrading contained contaminants. The project was initiated based on the recommendations for potential site closure management options contained with the 1999 Environmental Impact Study. The feasibility project was partially funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The feasibility study determined that while engineered wetlands would be an effective method for treatment of landfill impacted groundwater, water depths surrounding parts of Belle Park may be too deep to allow for desired level of cat-tail growth.
Phreatophyte Tree Feasibility Study
Details: Construction and monitoring of four plantation plots containing phreatophyte tree species (black willows, balsam poplars and hybrid poplars) to determine the effectiveness of using phreatophyte species to intercept groundwater flow and mitigate discharges to the adjacent river environment. Monitoring of existing mature phreatophytes (black willows) was undertaken by Environment Canada to determine the rate of groundwater capture and extraction from a mature tree as well as the area of influence (capture). To date, the study has shown that the native balsam poplar is susceptible to disease and is not likely the best choice for the task.
Assessment of PCBS in Shallow Groundwater
Status: Completed in 2005
Details: "Project Trackdown" was an effort to determine whether shallow groundwater discharge along the western shores of the Cataraqui River (including Belle Park) was a source for PCB contamination of river sediments. The study concluded that extremely low concentrations of PCB were present within the shallow groundwater within Belle Park and along the western shore of the Cataraqui River and that these concentrations were not enough to provide a significant source of PCB contamination to the river sediments. The conclusions of the study supported the hypothesis that PCBs in the river sediments are the artifacts of historical discharges to the river.
Nearshore Aquatic Effects Study
Status: Completed in 2005
Details: A Sediment and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Study of the Kingston Inner Harbour (known as the Nearshore Aquatic Effects Study) followed up on recommendations made within the 1999 Environmental Impact Study. This project sampled and evaluated the nearshore aquatic environment surrounding the former Belle Park Landfill site to determine the nature of the aquatic environment and if and where impacts are occurring due to discharge of groundwater from the landfill. The conclusion of the study was that no detrimental effects on the nearshore aquatic environment were present that could be attributed to discharge of groundwater from the landfill site.
Note: Additional statistical analyses requested by the Ministry of the Environment were completed in 2006 and supported the original conclusions of the study.
Long-Term Management Options Project
Status: Completed in 2006
Details: This project follows a class environmental assessment process model in order to evaluate potential options for the long-term management of the closed Belle Park site. The project recognizes that the current method of groundwater capture is effective, but expensive, and that alternative management methods may provide similar effectiveness at lower cost or with other benefits. The evaluation- and decision-making process is documented and has included consultation with the Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum and regulatory stakeholders.
Once a preferred approach has been identified, a public and regulatory stakeholder consultation process will be undertaken in order to refine details and move to a final recommendation for long-term management. The recommended approach will be used to develop detailed designs and procedures for use in producing a Closure Plan and obtaining any required Certificates of Approval.
The project produced a short list of four potential management alternatives. Additional technical and economic analysis and public consultation allowed for the selection of a preferred alternative for long term management that involves naturalization of the site and use of engineered tree plantations and wetlands to provide an enhanced level of groundwater control and treatment.
Installation of the Groundwater Collection System
Status: Installed 1997
Details: Installation of groundwater collection wells, cut-off walls and header piping system along the west stream area and the east and north shores. The system captures groundwater before it flows into the river. The recovered water is then transported to the Ravensview sewage treatment facility.
Expansion of the Groundwater Collection System
Status: Since 1997
Details: Installation of additional wells, groundwater cut-off walls and header piping along the south shore.
Replacement of Clean Soil Cover (West Stream Area)
Status: Completed in 2000
Details: Placement of clean soil cover over areas along the west stream area where the 1999 Environmental Impact Study identified less than optimum soil cover thickness.
Replacement of Clean Soil Cover (East End)
Status: Completed in 2003
Details: Placement of clean soil cover over areas along the northeast, east and southeast shoreline areas where the 1999 Environmental Impact Study identified less than optimum soil cover thickness.
Header Piping System Upgrade
Status: Completed 2001
Details: Replacement of the existing header piping system with larger capacity pipe and clean-out ports.
Removal of Derelict Underground Infrastructure
Status: Completed 2001
Details: Removal of old, unused underground piping and culverts that were channelling leachate-impacted groundwater toward the river. Backfilling of excavated areas with clean soil materials, landscaping and revegetation.
Clean-up of Shoreline Areas
Cost: $30,000 per year
Details: Removal of illegally dumped rubbish and other debris that has littered the shoreline areas of the site. The aim of the program is to beautify the property and remove garbage from the nearshore areas of the river.