An expansion at the Safety-Kleen plant in Breslau can proceed now that Woolwich council has signed off on a site plan for work on 15 acres of land adjacent to the main facility. The property will be home to a new 7,300-square-metre warehouse, truck parking area, safety flare structure and storm-water management facility. Although site-plan agreements are usually handled by staff rather than referred to council, this time was different because of concerns raised when the previous council approved the necessary Official Plan changes in the spring of 2010, manager of planning John Scarfone told councillors meeting Mar. 20.
The same issue with underground contaminants also prompted action at the Ontario Municipal Board by Elmira environmentalist Alan Marshall. That was subsequently dealt with in a dismissal ruling last March.
Still, there were a long list of conditions the oil re-refinery needed to address prior to winning approval to go ahead with the project.
Part of the 15-acre parcel has contaminants underneath, a legacy from Breslube Enterprises and other former operations on site. Safety-Kleen has been working for years to clean up the pollutants based on remediation action plan approved in 2002 by the Ministry of the Environment, which urged the company to purchase the property, part of what’s known as the Forwell gravel pit.
Part of the added parcel is to be used as home for a new warehouse that will store finished goods, mostly one-litre plastic containers of oil. Space on the site will also be used by the company’s truck fleet. That would remove the need for a small lot in Breslau’s core – the company has already stopped using oil storage tanks at that location, with the intention of moving those uses onto the existing Safety-Kleen lands.
Any contaminants under the proposed site of the warehouse must be removed prior to construction. The company is also required to create a buffer area planted with vegetation to separate the development area and a nearby drainage creek, to perform air-quality monitoring of the building and to carry out semi-annual groundwater monitoring by sampling nearby wells, said Scarfone in a report to council.
Some 10,000 to 20,000 gallons of oil-based contaminants sit in the shallow aquifer under the site, dating back to the 1960s and ’70s. Safety-Kleen has been pumping out the sludge and treating the waste, recovering about 2,000 to 3,000 gallons to date. Full remediation is expected to take more than 20 years.