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What's with the smell???

Please find below a Questions and Answers page from the City of Ottawa regarding smells:


Q) I smell an unusual odour on my property. Could it be the landfill?


A) Depending on how close you are to the landfill, and the weather conditions at the time of the odour, it is possible that the odours were generated from landfilling activities at the Trail Waste Facility.


Depending on the time of year, agricultural fertilizers may also contribute to odours in the community. Fertilizers are typically applied in the spring and fall but are also applied in the summer months depending on the crop.


Additionally, the excavation of peat as a part of construction excavation activities and industrial sand and gravel extraction adjacent to the community are also known generators of odours.



Q) How often can I expect to experience odours related to the landfill?


A) In 2006, the City of Ottawa commissioned an odour study which determined that despite following best management practices at the Trail Waste Facility, odour events would occur between 10 and 15 times a year on properties withing 1km of the landfill.



Q) How close are homes allowed to be built to a landfill?


A) Regarding development in the vicinity of a landfill, the province prohibits land use within 30 m of an active waste cell, but otherwise directs proponents to follow provincial guidance documents to assess the probability of landfill-based hazards at any given property. In general terms, the province does not set a prescriptive distance. In 2006, the City of Ottawa commissioned an odour study which determined that despite following best management practices at the Trail Waste Facility, odour events would occur between 10 and 15 times a year on properties within 1km of the landfill. Consequently, the City required developers to put notice on title that there may be occasional odour events at properties within the area. More information about the Barrhaven South Community Design Plan can be found on the City of Ottawa website.



Q) What is the City doing about odours at the landfill?


A) The City invests significantly in landfill gas collection infrastructure every year putting us among industry leaders in gas collection and destruction efficiency. The gas collected through extraction wells in the landfill footprint and are destroyed by way of combustion. The resulting emissions are tracked and reported annually to the provincial and federal governments - Trail Waste Facility is fully compliant with provincial and federal landfill gas regulations. Recognizing that the community of Barrhaven is developing closer to the landfill, the sequence of landfilling was adjusted to progressively move away from the community. As each stage has been completed, the stage has been capped to minimize the potential for odours to be generated from the completed stage.



Q) I am concerned about the wellbeing of my family. Are there any health and safety risks related to the landfill?


A) While unpleasant odours are unwelcome at any time, they do not present a physical health and safety issue to local residents. Odour studies have been caried out at landfills similar to the Trail Waste Facility and have not demonstrated toxicity to humans; the levels of gases generated by landfills in residential communities have not been shown to be carcinogenic or teratogenic, nor have they been associated with other serious biological health effects in the short or long term. In addition to efforts to minimize potential landfill gas impacts, the City performs additional rigorous environmental monitoring on an annual basis.


The regular monitoring of groundwater and surface water meets provincial requirements for parameters and frequency of sampling. The results of the program are reviewed by our environmental consultant, City of Ottawa staff, and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Based on the annual findings of the monitoring program, there are no offsite leachate/groundwater impacts. Further, the City of Ottawa supplies drinking water to residents from its two water purification plants located at the Ottawa river. The water supplied through the distribution system meets or exceeds all provincial requirements and does not come into contact with the natural environment while in the distribution system.



Q) Will the landfill attract nuisance animals to my property?


A) The Trail Waste Facility follows provincial guidelines to deter nuisance animals from scavenging at the landfill. The City has successfully implemented programs such as applying daily cover material and the implementation of a bird abatement program using raptors.



Q) I enjoy gardening and the use of my outdoor space, is there any risk to the soil on my property.


A) The City is only approved to landfill waste within approved limits at 4475 Trail Road property. Landfilling activities do not have any impact on the soil conditions of the surrounding community.

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