SIX NATIONS – The long awaited test results from the Kearns Disintegrator System conducted by RWDI Engineering in November are in, and they show that the Kearns Disintegrator is releasing alarmingly high levels of toxins through its smoke stack. The 186 page report was presented to Band Council on Monday night by Kirk Easto, an engineer and principal with RWDI.
The report shows that levels of particulate matter coming out of the machine were 85 times the allowable limits of Ontario guidelines. Dangerous heavy metals cadmium and lead showed up at over 25 times the maximum allowable limits. Most alarmingly, levels of dioxins and furans were found in the test to be present at levels of up to 200 times the allowable limit.
Dioxins are organochlorines which have been linked to a wide range of cancers and diseases including Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, leukemia, liver cancer, among others.
According to Dr. Paul Connet, a chemist and activist against incineration as a method of waste management, “This is incredibly bad. Other results are not good either, but this result should end any notion that we are dealing with a bona fide operation. I am not aware of any incinerator operating anywhere in the world which is this high above the national emission standard.”
Engineer Kirk Easto suggested that the rates of these toxins were so high because Kearns did not have a “baghouse” or pollution filter installed on the machine.
Two Row Times contacted Kearns regarding the levels of dioxins and other airborne contaminants that came through in the results. When asked why the levels were so high Kearns said, “That machine was just a demonstrator, it should never have been tested… It’s not the machine they’re getting, it’s not even a complete machine.”
Kearns went on defending himself saying, “I only build the burning part. The pollution equipment people build the rest of it and if it’s not there it can’t do it’s job.”
When TRT asked why Kearns permitted the machine to operate for ten months knowing it was burning garbage without the pollution control portion of the technology attached he further defended himself by saying, “Because they haven’t given us the go ahead to build the fixed facility. I wasn’t going to put $500,000 onto a demonstration machine that was only there to demonstrate what it would do to the garbage. That’s reserved for the fixed facility that will help them get approval from the ministry.”
Kearns argues that the test was not properly carried out because the garbage going in wasn’t weighed or analyzed, and he claims that a variety of technical errors compromised the results.
Kearns went so far as to suggest that because of the extremely high levels of toxins in the test, he suspects some kind of “sabotage” by parties unknown in order to skew the results against him.
However, the fact remains that for the 10 months that Kearns’ machine was burning Six Nations garbage in 2014, it was operating without any pollution controls installed and if the tests are right, the machine may have been releasing significant levels of contaminants into the surrounding environment.
The test results put the future of Six Nations’ waste disposal in question. But it is more complicated than simply ripping the machine out and starting the process all over again. Six Nations Elected Council will have to figure out what to do with the mounds of methane spewing garbage that has been pilling up every day at the already overburdened landfill site.
There is also the possibility that Kearns might launch an expensive breach of contract lawsuit against the Elected Council.
“We plan to continue production of the full scale components for your system and any other we currently have orders for should you ever complete your side of the now breached agreement,” Kearns wrote to Dayle Bomberry and the Elected Council. “Should the band not wish to continue, then we can enter into discussions, which will resolve this impasse.”
The Two Row Times attempted to reach Elected Chief Ava Hill for comment on this matter but she did not return our calls by press time.