Source of strong odours identified, air quality ‘below’ standards in Hamilton community


Published October 12, 2023 at 12:33 pm

landfill odours Hamilton GFL environmental environment garbage

All air quality measurements “were below” ministry standards and hydrogen sulfide was the probable source of strong odours from a landfill in Stoney Creek that sparked complaints from residents, according to Hamilton’s Public Health Services. 

The odours were described as smelling like garbage, leachate, wet diapers, natural gas and urine.  

However, the department said provincial staff found no violations during the monitoring period in August.

Public health gave its latest communication update to council on Sept. 15 concerning the Ontario Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks’ air monitoring onsite assessment at the Green For Life Environmental Stoney Creek Regional Facility. The assessment addressed residents’ complaints about the odours and air quality coming from the site.

It said the ministry is continuing to conduct air monitoring in the areas next to the facility in early morning and late evening.

Public Health Services staff met with the ministry on Sept. 6 to discuss the findings, which were independently reviewed by the City’s environmental health consultant.

The ministry had completed the air monitoring assessment over 10 days from Aug. 8 to 29.

Hydrogen sulfide was determined to be the most likely cause of the odour. It is a colourless gas that characteristically smells like rotten eggs. Exposure to it has not been known to cause cancer, but even in low concentrations it can cause headaches, tiredness and nausea.

“The Ministry is performing additional air monitoring to address the community’s concerns regarding increased odours during the evening and early morning hours,” the department said in its written update. “Public Health will continue to review and assess these results and will update Council once the results are received and assessed.”

Green For Life (GFL) Environmental, the Vaughan, Ont., operator of the Taro dump in Stoney Creek, had installed a new odour treatment control system at its leachate pump station, Jennifer Hall, a Ministry of Environment spokesperson, told in August. She added that GFL was treating exposed leachate on the site to eliminate the odours.

To comply with provincial requirements, GFL installed a new odour treatment control system at its leachate pump station, Hall said. It was also accelerating its plan to move its leachate treatment system into an indoor facility, she added.

inthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising