CIL’s 2.06 hectare modified landfilling site (5.09 acres), 1980
Trimac: CIL’s transportation company
CIL’s 0.16 hectare explosive incineration site, 1980
CIL’s 0.7 and 0.12 hectares incineration site for hazardous waste and commercial waste contaminated by explosives, 1983
CIL’s 2.06 HECTARE MODIFIED LANDFILLING SITE (5.09 ACRES), 1980
In 1978, CIL invested $7 million in a new plant and 50 workers were retrained1. The large investment in the new plant was viewed as strange by local residents because CIL was struggling with employee strikes. It was common knowledge that the demand for munitions was going down, but the new investment meant jobs, so no questions were asked.
Two years later on March 24, 1980, CIL received approval from the Ministry of the Environment for a 2.06 hectare modified landfill site (5.09 acres) on Lot 25 Concession B for “domestic and 20% non-hazardous solid industrial waste2”.
The certificate was subject to the following conditions:
1. No operation shall be carried out at the site after sixty days from the site condition becoming enforceable unless this Certificate including the reasons for this condition has been registered by the applicant as an instrument in the appropriate Land Registry Office against title to the site and a duplicate registered copy thereof has been returned by the applicant to the Director.
The reasons for the imposition of this condition are as follows:
The reason for the condition requiring registration of the Certificate is that Section 46 of The Environmental Protection Act, 1971 prohibits any use being made of the lands after they cease to be used for waste disposal purposes in order to protect future occupants of the site and the environment from any hazards which might occur as a result of waste being disposed of on the site. This prohibition and potential hazard should be drawn to the attention of future owners and occupants by the Certificate being registered on title.
Bear in mind that the regulations and environmental laws on chemicals and toxicity were much more relaxed in the 1980’s than they are today.
Image above: Lot 25 Concession C as viewed on the West Parry Sound Geography Network (WPSGN) ARCGIS map — showing the distance between this Lot and local residencies, Nobel elementary school and Guncotton Bay.
Only part of Lot 25 Concession B is currently being retained by its landowners, as demonstrated in CBRE’s: “The Nobel Lands” 16-page flyer. (Image below).
The majority of Lot 25 Concession B was divided and gifted in 1990 (presumably gifted as there was no transfer dollar amount on the Land Registry Title). From 1990-present, the largest parcel of land on Lot 25 Concession B was owned by Grandview Estates Inc.
Image above: Provisional Certificate of Approval Waste Disposal Site by the MOE for CIL’s 2.06 hectare modified landfilling site on Lot 25 Concession b, dated March 24, 1980.
This Ministry of Environment certificate was referenced as 5/78 pages, which were not all attached to the land registry title office. What are the other conditions? What other information exists in the original document? What would it reveal? Can you access it through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?
Were there additional landfills and were they used exclusively for CIL’s waste?
If you wish to know the answers to that question, you’re going to need to learn a thing or two about a chemical transportation company called Trimac.
TRIMAC: CIL's TRANSPORTATION COMPANY
Back in the day, a chemical transportation company called Trimac worked for CIL. Trimac transported everything from whiskey to baby-food to explosives.
Trimac seems to be little known now in the Parry Sound community, but through the grapevine its name had been dropped among the elders in the community. Through unique circumstances and coincidence, I came in touch with a former Trimac employee who was a dispatcher and delivery driver in the early-mid 80s. It just so happened that this individual made deliveries to/from Nobel.
According to the information provided in the interview, Trimac regularly transported ~20,000 litre loads of liquid dynamite (nitroglycerine) on 45-foot trucks, mostly for mining and road operations.
The former employee recalled that he was told by CIL and Trimac that nitroglycerine was not bad for your health. He implied that he didn’t believe that, as he, and so many others that handled it, had major health problems and “huge cancer.” He recalled that while he was employed he was not allowed to speak about their operations, or what they were transporting.
This individual said that the liquid dynamite was oil-based and was mixed with fertilizer, which made it into a slush.
This reminded me of documentation that I read about CIL’s slurry production in their later years of production, which aligned with the timeline of this individual’s employment at Trimac – the early-mid 80’s. Sometimes, CIL’s slurry products were referred to ‘sap-slurry’.
Further information on the contents of CIL’s slurry productions have not been found. However, I have not thoroughly researched this topic. Was this ‘slush’ (oil-based liquid-dynamite and fertilizer mix) the same thing as the “slurry” CIL was manufacturing? Does this mean that fertilizer chemicals were also being stored or manufactured on CIL’s site? What impact do those chemicals have on the environment and human health? What is the impact of these chemicals mixed with other chemicals or industrial waste in the environment? In other words, how do they react together and how long do they last?
“They dumped a lot of shit there,” he exclaimed without any prompt.
“What did they dump there?”, I asked.
“Got no idea.”
As if to emphasize the gravity of the situation, he repeated: “They dumped a lot of shit there.”
I recalled an old document written by a CIL manager that stated the site became, “a convenient dumping location.” So, I had to ask: “Were they dumping more than what they were producing?” “Probably twice, three times more. They had fuckin’ tanks, fuckin’ huge.”
If CIL was using the site as a dumping grounds for industrial waste from other producers in addition to their own, how much was buried there?
Though the recording had stopped, our conversation continued. He made it known that dumping had also occurred prior to 1980, when the MOE certificate had been issued. He confirmed that they: “dug trenches and buried tanks filled with shit.”
Are there MOE certificates for additional landfills? If not, would there be consequences from the MOE and Climate Change?
The Waste Management Act of 1970 states: “An inspector [from the Ministry of the Environment] may enter in or upon any land or premises, other than a dwelling, at any reasonable time and make or require to be made such examination, tests, or inquiries as may be necessary or advisable for the purposes of this Act and the regulations.”
Did an inspector enter the land, or insist on any environmental tests or monitoring wells? Through private communication with a former public servant of the Municipality of McDougall, I was informed that the MOE required CIL to do some level of decommissioning on the property, which included environmental testing to determine possible off-site (migrating) contamination.
It was said that this had occurred following CIL’s closure in 1985 and prior to the land transfers in 1990 or possibly 1993, such as: the land transfer of Nobel Beach to the municipality, or the largest parcel on Lot 25 Concession C to Grandview Estates Inc.
Information or data, that would either confirm or deny that this decommissioning process took place, has not yet been researched or acquired.
Refer to section, Reported Monitoring Wells, for information regarding the 60+ monitoring wells installed since 2010.
In 1982, the Minister of the Environment, K. C. Norton, announced his intention to develop a comprehensive plan for the handling of waste in Ontario and to prepare a document that introduced the problems and pointed to solutions. The document was printed one year later in 1983 and called, A Blueprint for Waste Management3.
This document outlines information pertaining to closed sites:
The Ministry introduced a program in 1979 to identify those landfill disposal sites which had been operated and closed before waste management legislation was passed in 1970. Approximately 1,500 municipal and private closed sites were identified, and 197 of these were considered to have the potential for adverse environmental impact. These were field tested and varying degrees of environmental problems were discovered at 11 sites. Detailed engineering studies were carried out and remedial measures taken.
An investigation of priority industrial waste sites identified some off-site adverse environmental impact at 11 of 52 sites. Remedial measures have been taken at these 11 sites.
This information begs the following questions:
- Was CIL in Nobel, Ontario one of the 11 sites that were identified by the Ministry?
- If so, what varying degrees of environmental problems were discovered?; what was revealed in the field test results?
- What engineering studies were carried out and remedial measures taken if in the following years additional landfill and incineration sites were approved?
The Blueprint for Waste Management outlines information related to active sites:
The Ministry is reviewing information on, and inspecting all active waste disposal sites. The objective of this study is to centralize the information gathered through a data processing system to facilitate controls and planning. It is proposed that a further stage in this program will be the re-evaluation, on a priority basis, of landfill sites taking municipal or controlled wastes, the object being to confirm their suitability for the disposal of different categories of wastes and to measure the possibility of different categories of wastes and to measure the possibility of off-site damage to the environment.
Therefore, the 1979 program that identified landfill disposal sites that had operated and closed before waste management legislation passed in 1970 existed before CIL’s certificates of approval, dated in 1980. Also, additional certificates of approval for landfill and incineration sites were given to CIL in 1983 (refer to the following sections).
Therefore, CIL’s 1980 and 1983 landfills and incineration sites would have been categorized as an “active site” in the Blueprint for Waste Management, which would imply that the MOE measured the possibility of off-site damage to the environment.
This information suggests seeking answers to the following questions:
- If studies showed that there was off-site damage to the environment, what does this imply for the local residents, the municipality or property owners?
- If there had been off-site damage to the environment (possibly implying damage to human health), who had been involved in the decision-making process to mitigate the damages? Who was made aware?
- If off-site damage had not been measured, did the MOE neglect their due diligence or enforcement responsibilities?
The MOE’s enforcement responsibilities, as outlined in the Blueprint for Waste Management, are as follows:
Through its Regional and District offices, the Ministry of the Environment monitors and controls the operation of facilities in accordance with the conditions attached to their Certificates of Approval.
As a result of the Blueprint process, there will be changes in control and regulation. The Ministry will ensure proper enforcement.
This is why it is important to acquire the full Certificate of Approval for CIL; to determine what monitoring and specific enforcement responsibilities the MOE had on the properties in Nobel.
However, the MOE may not have been the only government body that could have been involved with, or aware of, the sites and what was happening at the CIL property.
Different or additional documentation may be located at the Ontario Waste Management Corporation (created through an Act of the Ontario Legislature in July, 1981). They were the vehicle through which the Province accepted responsibility for the treatment and disposal of special waste. It is accountable to the Minister of the Environment for its activities and financial requirements. Its mandate includes:
- Assessing the types and quantities of waste that require special treatment and disposal.
- Planning and assessing optional facilities and sites based on this information and on a comprehensive review of suitable site locations.
- Formulating a detailed proposal in the light of information and advice gathered from interested organizations and from the general public and presenting it at a formal public hearing.
- Building and operating facilities.
- Undertaking other programs that affect the generation and management of special waste, and encouraging its recovery, recycling and reuse.
More specifically, in May, 1983, the Ontario Waste Management Corporation issued its Interim Phase 3 report outlining a number of candidate areas for the treatment and disposal facilities for special wastes. It was in 1983 that the MOE approved additional certificates for landfill and incineration sites on CIL’s property in Nobel. Based on the information from the former Trimac employee regarding CIL’s dumping of waste it may be worth asking: was CIL’s property in Nobel listed as one of the candidate areas for special wastes by the Ontario Waste Management Corporation?
Finally, it should also be mentioned that the Ministry of Natural Resources also operated small disposal sites in Northern Ontario4.
In summary, if you were to continue this investigation, I would recommend that you apply through FIPPA for the following:
- CIL’s full certificates of approval from the MOE.
- The list of 11 sites that were field tested and varying degrees of environmental problems were found. If the lands in Nobel are included, attain the detailed engineering studies and information regarding the remedial measures that were taken.
- The information on the Ministry’s “active site” review in 1983. If CIL’s 1980 landfill site is included in this review or inspection (as it may be considered a controlled waste landfill site), it may include information about off-site damage to the environment (and possibly human health).
- If the FIPPA requests as listed above do not produce valuable information, consider applying for further information through the Ministry of Natural Resources. Specify which lot and concessions are of interest.
Refer to the section, Moving Forward: Further Research + Legal Options, for more advice and information on how to apply for information through FIPPA.
CIL’s 0.16 HECTARE EXPLOSIVE INCINERATION SITE, 1980
On August 27, 1980, another certificate was made for a 0.16 hectare explosive incineration site (0.395 acres). The certificate of approval includes the following information:
[The certificate was made] In accordance with the following plans and specifications: The Canadian Industries Limited, Nobel Works, Works Procedure P3, ‘Disposal of Explosives Waste’, dated February 1976.
Located: Lot 25, Concession C
Township of McDougall
District of Parry Sound
Which includes the use of the site only for the disposal of the following categories of waste (NOTE: Use of the site for additional categories of wastes requires a new application and amendments to the Provisional Certificate of Approval) hazardous waste limited to class 602 as described in the attached “Interim Classification of Hazardous Wastes”.
Unfortunately, the “Interim Classification of Hazardous Wastes” was not attached in the land registry title. Therefore, the exact definition of class 602 is unknown.
Image below: MOE Provisional Certificate of Approval Waste Disposal Site for CIL’s 0.16 hectare explosives incineration site on Lot 25 Concession C, dated August 27, 1980.
Image below: CBRE Nobel Lands flyer showing retained lands; with notes that show which lot and concessions had MOE certifications for either landfills or incineration sites as well as the location for one of the incineration sites.
Image below: Township of McDougall map specifying the location of CIL’s burning grounds, found at the McDougall Township’s office. The burning grounds are located a few hundred metres from Nobel Beach; a children’s park. Nobel Beach is not being sampled according to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.
However, the following information was found after seeking assistance at the Taylor and Weldon Library at Western University:
- Ontario’s Waste Law O-Reg 347 (the old 309 Waste Management Regulation) and the 1986 Ontario Waste Classes document, which is still being updated, does not appear to have a “class 602”.
- The librarians suggested it may have been an internal document from the MOE as, after each chart in the schedules of O. Reg. 347 there is a note that states:
“Haz. Waste Numbers means Hazardous Waste Number. These numbers are consistent with United States Environmental Protection Agency Hazardous Waste Numbers. If there is no United States Environmental Protection Agency Hazardous Waste Number for a waste, the Hazardous Waste Number is assigned to the waste by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.”
- It was also noted that it was possible that class 602 morphed into class 321 in the 1986 New Ontario Classes document, “Wastes from the manufacture of explosives and detonation products.” The description:
“Wastewater treatment sludges; spent carbon; red/pink waters from TNT manufacturing; residues from lead base initiating compounds5.”
- The Blueprint for Waste Management in Ontario dated June 19836, refers to a “Special Waste” category, which includes:
Liquid and solid hazardous waste, and most liquid industrial wastes. Special waste would be systematically classified according to such characteristics as ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, pathogenicity, and toxicity. Appendix 4 “Interim Guidelines for Introduction to the Hazards Waste Definition” provides detailed information on this classification. A list of approximately 400 chemicals and waste streams which may appear as special waste has been prepared.
Unfortunately, in the 96-page document that was found online, Appendix 4 was not attached.
Could you find this information through a FIPPA request through the MOE?
CIL’s 0.16 hectare explosive incineration site certification was subject to the following conditions:
1. No operation shall be carried out at the site after sixty days from this condition becoming enforceable unless this Certificate including the reasons for this condition has been registered by the applicant as an instrument in the appropriate Land Registry Office against title to the site and a duplicate registered copy thereof has been returned by the applicant to the Director.
Additional conditions were outlined:
The reason for the condition requiring registration of the Certificate is that Section 46 of The Environmental Protection Act, 1971 prohibits any use being made of the lands after they cease to be used for waste disposal purposes within a period of twenty-five years from the year in which such land ceased to be used unless the approval of the Minister for the proposed use has been given. The purpose of this prohibition is to protect future occupants of the site and the environment from any hazards which night occur as a result of waste being disposed of on the site. This prohibition and potential hazard should be drawn to the attention of future owners and occupants by the Certificate being registered on the title.
This requirement will be referred to as the: “25 Year Requirement”.
This document is referenced as 6/70 pages, which were not all included in the land registry title office. Therefore additional conditions may have existed but are currently unknown.
- What else is included and revealed in this original document? This should be accessible through FIPPA.
- The total document should reveal “class 602” waste, which may assist determining what types of chemicals may be lingering in the environment still today.
- If the MOE approved the partitioning of CIL’s lands prior to the 25 year condition (e.g. giving Nobel Beach to the Municipality of McDougall for public use), what documentation exists for that approval process?
Otherwise (to my knowledge), no attention has been drawn to any future owners of the property as the current landowners are retaining the lands though selling neighbouring parcels.
Refer to CBRE’s The Nobel Lands 16-page document flyer that outlines the retained property in the section, Retained Nobel Lands.
As stated in the MOE certificate, there was to be no use of the land for 25 years, which brings us to 2005. Refer to section, CIL’s proposed severance plan, October 2005, for the ICI Canada Nobel site proposed severance plan and additional information.
CIL’s 0.7 AND 0.12 HECTARES INCINERATION SITE FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE AND COMMERCIAL WASTE CONTAMINATED BY EXPLOSIVES, 1983
Three years later, on December 16, 1983, an additional certificate was given to CIL by the MOE for two waste disposal incineration sites on Lot 34 Concession 117:
- 0.07 and 0.12 hectares [0.173 and 0.297 acres] for hazardous waste limited to class 602 explosive waste and commercial waste which has been contaminated by explosives.
Image below: MOE Provisional Certificate of Approval Waste Disposal Site for CIL’s 0.07 hectare incineration site and a 0.12 hectare incineration site, dated December 16, 1983.
Image below: West Parry Sound Geography Network (WPSGN) ARCGIS map; highlighting Lot 34 Concession 11.
These incineration sites were subject to the following conditions:
- This Certificate of Approval shall be registered on the title to the lands comprising the waste disposal site. No operation shall be carried out at the site after sixty days from this condition becoming enforceable unless this Certificate including the reasons for this condition has been registered by the applicant as an instrument in the appropriate Land Registry Office against title to the site and a duplicate registered copy thereof has been returned by the applicant to the Director. [The “60 Day Condition”).
- (1) No burning of waste shall take place at the landfill site.
(2) Notwithstanding sub condition (1), refuse cover may be burned a[t] landfill site if:
- A. the District Officer gives written approval (which may be a specific burn or for a specific period of time), and
- B. any burning is done in accordance with
(i) Ontario Ministry of the Environment Guideline for Burning at Landfill Sites in Ontario, dated November 1981
(ii) Appendix IV of the correspondence of Oct. 5, 1983 from Mr. J. P. Moore of C-I-L Inc. to Mr. A. Lolonde of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
The following reasons for the imposition of these conditions are as follows:
- Section 45 25 Year Requirement;
- The reason for condition 2, subsection (i) is that burning of refuse may create a nuisance and may cause environmental problems. The reason for condition 2 (2) is that if the company conducts burning of certain wastes at appropriate times and under carefully controlled conditions, then the risks involved with burning these wastes are reduced.
In the conditions listed above it refers to waste being burned at an existing landfill site. However, the MOE certificate for a 2.06 hectare modified landfilling site (5.09 acres) is on Lot 25 Concession B not Lot 34 Concession 11 (the location for the two 0.7 and 0.12 hectare incineration sites). Therefore:
- Was there an additional landfill site on Lot 34 Concession 11?
- When was the additional landfill site used?
- What conditions or details would the certificate of approval have included for the additional landfill site? What was disposed there? This information should be accessible through FIPPA.
Could they have been referring to Guncotton Swamp? Guncotton Swamp on the north-side of Nobel Road (the old Highway 69) appears to be predominately shared between Lot 33 Concession 11 and Lot 25 Concession B.
Image (below): West Parry Sound Geography Network ARCGIS map of Nobel; outlining Lot 33 Concession 11 and Lot 25 Concession B, which share Guncotton swamp.
I believe it was unlikely that this was the landfill site they were referring to because they then would have been referring to a landfill site that existed 60+ years beforehand. Unless, of course, they continued dumping in the same swamp decades later.
Therefore, it is reasonable to deduce that an additional, different and more recent landfill on Lot 34 Concession 11 existed. This would suggest at minimum three landfills:
- The possible one on Lot 34 Concession 11, as referred to in Certificate of Approval No. A522110
- The confirmed one on Lot 25 Concession B, as mentioned in Certificate of Approval Number 522107
- The swamp where all guncotton process waste was disposed of, where the runoff became known as Guncotton Creek and entered into Guncotton Bay, part of Georgian Bay.
The prohibited use of this land was for 25 years, which brings us to 2008. To my knowledge, no environmental scrutiny has been applied on this property by any government agency, or by future owners, as the current landowners are retaining the property.
Refer to the CBRE’s The Nobel Lands 16-page document flyer that outlines the Retained Nobel Lands.
- Toronto Star, February 11/1985.
- MOE Provisional Certificate No. A 522107, Land Title 52102-0289. Land Registry Office, Parry Sound.
- Blueprint for Waste Management in Ontario, Ministry of the Environment, June, 1983, https://archive.org/details/blueprintforwast00ontauoft.
- “Authority and Responsibility: Role of Other Provincial Agencies.” Page 29. Blueprint for Waste Management in Ontario. Ministry of the Environment. June, 1983. Web access: https://archive.org/details/blueprintforwast00ontauoft.
- New Ontario Waste Classes, Ministry of the Environment, January, 1986.
- K.C. Norton, “Blueprint for Waste Management in Ontario,” Ministry of the Environment, June, 1983. Web access: https://archive.org/details/blueprintforwast00ontauoft.
- MOE Provisional Certificate of Approval Waste Disposal Site, Revision No. 1 A522110. Land Title 52102-0558. Land Registry Office, Parry Sound.