Former Mayor Bob Chiarelli and former Councillor Janet Stavinga
have introduced the threat of impending catastrophe upon Richmond 
residents, by creating the ongoing risk of contamination to the
 private shallow well-water supply of vulnerable citizens. 

They caused this senseless risk by installing a high-
pressure pipeline to pump raw (untreated) sewage directly
through the shallow potable water source of 1,100 private wells.
*

The surface odour problem, described below, is akin to the mere 'ticking sound'
  of the underground water pollution 'time bomb' that is waiting to explode.


 

 

 

 

RCOC Reports:

Actions of city officials repeatedly fail the smell test
Fines should be paid by those responsible, not the taxpayers


Aftereffects of the infamous "Munster Sewergate Fiasco" have surfaced, in the news, yet again.

On February 4th, 2010, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment filed four charges against the City of Ottawa, under the Environmental Protection Act, for failing to contain regularly occurring odours coming from the Richmond pumping station. The odors have persisted since 2005, when a new forcemain began delivering sewage that becomes highly septic over its 11-kl, (26-hour), travel from Munster.

City faces provincial charges over sewer gaffes - Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 6, 2010

City faces new water/sewer charges - Ottawa Sun, Feb. 6, 2010


Background:


Former Mayor, Bob Chiarelli, Former Goulbourn Councillor, Janet Stavinga and staff-chosen consultants, Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, (CRA), appear to have acted jointly on a pre-determined agenda for a Munster sewage forcemain that followed no logic, flew in the face of every known precautionary principle, had no explained or explainable rationale, caused unrelenting fear of contamination amongst Richmond residents and cost taxpayers more than ten times the price tag on the safe communal alternative that regional council voted for, at the outset.
(See: Council Motions #72 and #73 - of March 11, 1998)

As if driven by lunacy, the Chiarelli-Stavinga-CRA scheme was to send the sewage in a route that would leave Munster in the opposite direction from its Kanata destination, travel south to the Franktown Road, then –-below the water table— course through the Richmond Fen, then, (without disclosing this vital fact to other councillors), have it flow under pressure through the drinking water source for Richmond’s 1,100 private shallow wells, then cross the Jock River bottom (southerly) to the Richmond pumping station. From there it would finally head north to a Kanata pumping station.
(See: Sanity check)
(See: Rationale for Chiarelli's pipeline agenda remains unexplained - or does it?)
(See: Janet Stavinga: The Dr. Kavorkian of source water protection?)

The Region/City and CRA were cautioned many times by independent engineers and residents that their unsound plan would pose a perilous, and completely uncalled for, ongoing threat of contamination to families reliant upon shallow private wells for their drinking water. Also, they were warned that the long sewage transit times between Munster and Richmond would most certainly cause persistent odours at the pump station. It fell on deaf ears.

*Whatever was the real agenda of Bob Chiarelli, Janet Stavings and CRA, residents acutely believe --to this day-- that serving the public interest and protecting public health were not on their list of objectives.

In fact, the many residents who voiced their palpable concerns were defamed, ridiculed, demeaned, derided, lied to by city officials and threatened by attack dogs, (see photo and correspondence), throughout various phases of planning and construction. One resident was even maliciously sued by CRA, (See: Landowner's Magazine-Feb-08), for the amount of $4.2M in a classic "SLAPP" suit, (See:details of suit), to silence him, (See: Public Interest Advocacy Centre Executive Summary on SLAPP action suits), while he tried to bring clarity to the human and environmental risks that were long-foretold by independent professional engineers -- and are now starting to manifest themselves.

The end result was that even though one of the top environmental lawyers in Ontario determined that the Environmental Assessment process was "improperly", and in fact, "illegally" conducted, (Rod Northey Meeting with Richmond residents), the cries for help from Richmond residents were ignored at City Hall, (Petition to Mayor and Council), as well as at the Ministry of the Environment, (MOE), and all the way up to Premier McGuinty’s office. Part of the Village struggle is documented here: http://www.ottawasewergatefiasco.com/r.htm


"Drinking water sources should be protected by developing   
watershed-based source protection plans."
 -Walkerton Report


Construction of the hazardous misbegotten forcemain went ahead regardless, leaving the vulnerable residents feeling, among other things, that there have been numerous breaches of the public trust combined with reckless and unwarrantable public endangerment that must still be addressed in the courts or through a judicial inquiry. Better to have the inquiry before there are fatalities, rather than as the result of fatalities.

Now that the Abatement and Enforcement Branch of the MOE is proving numerous findings of the long-predicted illegal odour offences, the Ministry has an obligation to conduct increased due diligence on the file in order to expose the underlying gross negligence that led to the creation of such an irresponsible 'ticking time bomb' threat of slow leakage of sewage into Richmond's private wells.

The MOE must realize that the odour revelations are the 'canary in the coal mine' indicator of a much greater threat that has to be reversed, before deaths occur.

The MOE’s recent additional charges against the city clearly demonstrate proof that city officials were wrong and that resident fears, complaints and the many engineering expert predictions were justified all along.

It is also clear, from the Ottawa Sun story on February 6th, that the vindicated residents will not quit fighting until the danger is removed and until Richmond residents will no longer have to remain, as 'held captives', in harm's way.
Resident raises a stink at City Hall - Ottawa Sun - 100206

But that's not enough!

The city and the MOE both have legal, moral and ethical obligations to take responsibility for allowing this massive assault to occur against the public interest, against the public trust, but most critically: against public health and safety.

They must now step in swiftly, to correct it.

(POSTSCRIPT: The problem can be cost-effectively solved for less than $5-Million by using one of the Council-mandated safe communal solutions, originally approved. For a more pragmatic perspective on the 'do nothing' alternative, contrast $5-Million against the price tag for Walkerton's contaminated water crisis which has so far cost Ontario taxpayers more than $155-Million.)

 

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