Current Issues

Supplementary Groundwater Monitoring Report - Fall 2014

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Burlington Airpark Groundwater Continues to Meet Potable Water Standards Independent Testing Confirms

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TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 15, 2015) - The Burlington Airpark is pleased to announce that a second round of groundwater testing as recommended by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has been completed..

The results indicated that the ground water continues to meet the standards of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Table 2: Full Depth Generic Site Conditions Standards for Use in a Potable Ground Water Condition - applicable for residential, parkland and institutional property use. Performed by Pinchin Environmental (utilizing an independent, fully accredited laboratory, Maxxam Analytics Inc.), the supplementary testing was conducted between October 31 and November 28, 2014. The original round of groundwater testing was carried out between September 2013 and March 2014.

As with the first round of testing, groundwater in three of the eleven wells in one particular location showed elevated levels of uranium. The first round of testing included soil samples from these wells which showed the level of uranium in the soil (both the fill and native material) was well below the Table 2 Standards, leading Pinchin to conclude the elevated levels detected in the groundwater from these three wells did not result from the deposit of fill material at the site, but rather was the result of naturally occurring uranium known to exist in the underlying bedrock formation.

A copy of the supplementary testing report has already been provided to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and will be made available on the Airpark's website.


Vince Rossi

Burlington Airpark Inc.

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FINAL Pinchin ESA Review

MOE FINAL Pinchin ESA Review Memo May 20, 2014


Airpark authorities in Ontario Court of Appeal

Airpark factum in Ontario Court of Appeal

Appeal Book and Compendium

Pinchin Study

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Click here to download Pinchin GMP and Phase II ESA_5351

On behalf of Burlington Executive Airpark I am happy to announce the latest results of the extensive testing we have done which confirms that the fill used for the airport improvements has not had any adverse impact on the groundwater.

The testing program was very thorough. To be certain that we satisfactorily answered the question of whether the activities on our land were impacting the groundwater, we requested the Ontario Ministry of the Environment or MOE to review the plan for the test program. Our consultant then considered and incorporated the MOE’s comments into the testing program plan. However, the final responsibility for the work that was done is ours.

A plan to install nine monitoring wells on the Airpark to test the groundwater was finalized in late August, 2013 and the monitoring wells were installed. The first samples were taken in September and sent to an independent laboratory for testing. Additional samples were taken from three of the wells to confirm results and two additional monitoring wells were advanced to provide more information for greater certainty. Our consultants were delayed in completing their study by the severe winter we had and as a result, the last samples could not be taken until late March, 2014. The samples were tested for petroleum hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, a group of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and many metals.

Based on the sampling results, our consultant has concluded that the Airpark lands are not affecting the groundwater and that, with a couple of exceptions unrelated to the fill used in the airport improvements and which are naturally occurring, the groundwater meets the MOE Site Condition Standards in a Potable Ground Water Condition.

One sample from one test well, while meeting all other standards, gave a reading for the metal cobalt that was just above the standard. Our consultant retested the well twice, and both these results were well below the MOE standard for cobalt. It is our consultant’s opinion that the first result was not representative of what was in the water.

One of the nine test wells had a higher than expected result for uranium while meeting all other standards. Retesting of that same well also found elevated levels of uranium in the water. Our consultant recommended that we drill two additional monitoring wells in the immediate vicinity and test the soil itself for uranium as well as take additional ground water samples. Groundwater samples were taken from the new well “above” the well that had initially given the higher reading for uranium (that is, the groundwater generally flows in a direction from the new well towards the old well). The groundwater from this new well met the MOE standard. Water samples were also taken from the new well “below” the old well (that is, the groundwater is flowing in a direction away from the old well and toward this new well). The groundwater from this well had elevated levels of uranium.

As recommended, both the fill and the underlying native soil (the original farmland under the fill) from these two new wells was also tested. All five of these soil tests came in well below the MOE standard for uranium. This is consistent with the available analytical data for the imported fill which also showed uranium levels well below the MOE standards.

Because the test results for uranium in the soil are so low, it is our consultant’s opinion that the elevated levels of uranium in the groundwater in these two wells are not the result of the fill used at the airport, but is likely the result of the breakdown of naturally occurring deposits in the underlying shale bedrock. They are aware of other studies in Halton Region that have also identified naturally occurring elevated levels of uranium in the groundwater. In other words, it’s natural, it’s already there and it has nothing to do with the fill.

Prior to this study, there have been six inspections, studies and or tests of the fill and its potential impact on local water which have been carried out between 2009 and the fall of 2013. The Airpark has only recently found out about some of these through Freedom of Information Requests. These include two by the Region of Halton, two by the MOE and one by Environment Canada. Most were prompted by unsubstantiated complaints or “tips” that the fill was contaminated. None found there was any problem. By letter dated November 27, 2013, the MOE confirmed to the City of Burlington there was “no such evidence” that the fill was having any adverse off-site impact. This latest study is the most comprehensive to date and is completely consistent with the six previous studies.

We have already provided a copy of this report to the MOE. It is my intention to address any questions they may have. A copy of the report is also available for viewing on the Airpark’s website.

Vince Rossi

Burlington Airpark Inc.

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Press Release

(Click here to download Press Release.)

April 10, 2014

As the owner of the Burlington Executive Airpark, I am proud of our long and accomplished history in Halton Region.

The Airpark opened in 1962. Since that time, it has served as a flight training centre, an aircraft maintenance base, a recreational flying facility, and a key transportation hub for the residents and businesses of Halton.

Thousands of pilots have received their training at Burlington Airpark, many of whom now fly the airliners and charters that safely transport thousands of Canadians every day.

For most of its existence, the Airpark has been home to aircraft maintenance facilities. The training and maintenance facilities, along with the charter services, are independently owned, and provide skilled employment opportunities for our community. In addition, there are jobs for those who provide services to the Airpark and the businesses located there.

Many leading companies, including Ford Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz Canada, Evertz Microsystems and L-3 Communications, use the Airpark for the transportation of people and key materials.

The Airpark is also utilized for patient transfers and organ donation flights, given its proximity to world-class medical institutions that serve Burlington, Milton, Oakville, Mississauga and Hamilton. Ontario’s air ambulance service uses special facilities installed at the Airpark for advanced training. The Airpark is also used for law enforcement, search and rescue, military and ambulance flights.

Finally, the Airpark is home to a thriving recreational aviation community. It is the host of community service events such as educational flights for school groups, the semi-annual Big Brothers/Big Sisters Air Lift and serves as a partner and rest stop in the PwC Epic Tour Halton, a regional biking event.

There is a shortage of smaller general aviation airports in Southern Ontario with reasonable proximity to population centres. The Airpark represents a unique, essential asset for Halton Region.

But we want to improve and do more.

I purchased the Airpark from the Kovachik family in 2006, having done my own flight training here. I thought it was a wonderful facility, but I could envision areas for improvement. Since that time, I have invested more than $4-million in infrastructure improvements. I have received no financial assistance from any level of government in doing so. This has included widening and improving the main runway and taxiways, improving the refueling facilities and building additional hangars, as well as future plans to modernize the hangars, taxiways and the terminal building.

We have always been open about our plans and goals to improve the Airpark. Over the years, we posted plans on our website, we have contributed material for economic development publications issued by the City of Burlington, we have held a yearly reception as well several Open Houses and barbeques which have been attended by neighbours, Airpark users and politicians of every level, including the Mayor and City Councillors. At these events, we have shown the improvements to the Airpark and explained our plans for the future. We have specifically sought and attended meetings with representatives of the City of Burlington over the past several years concerning the improvements to the Airpark. We want to continue to inform and involve our neighbours in our planning.

Our efforts to improve the Airpark were halted in July of last year, after complaints were raised by a few of our neighbours, some of whom had only recently purchased their homes, being well aware of the existence of the Airpark. They started making unsubstantiated claims that the fill being imported to level the remaining Airpark lands was waste, which of course it was not.

The situation then became political. Councillors at the City of Burlington began to listen and to repeat the unsubstantiated rumours of water contamination. The City of Burlington, citing its Site Alternation by-law, took steps to stop the improvements. Despite the fact the Airpark is federally regulated, we met with the local Councillors, City officials and our neighbors to try to address everyone’s concerns reasonably. Notwithstanding, the Mayor of Burlington publically vowed to take whatever steps the City could to “hammer” the Airpark.

To be clear, every test of neighbouring streams and wells has met or passed the federal and provincial environmental standards. There have been six inspections, studies and/or tests carried out since 2009. None have indicated any problem with the fill or an adverse impact on the quality of local water. Further, after discussions with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment last summer, the Airpark is in the process of completing the most comprehensive study to date by carrying out a voluntary test well program.

Sadly, both the City and ourselves are spending time and money addressing issues in court as to whether or not the City is entitled to control the improvements at the Airpark. Over the past 60 years, courts of this country have held that the Federal Government, acting through Transport Canada, has exclusive jurisdiction over the operations of the nation’s airports and aerodromes – about where they are located and the way they are designed, laid out, built, and improved. There are more than 1,400 airports in Canada. If each one was subjected to different municipal standards, there would be chaos, which is what the courts have consistently held. We hope for a resolution to this in June.

I am saddened the situation has come to this.

I’ve always respected our neighbours, and the City of Burlington, and was hopeful that we could have reached a compromise that protected and enhanced the interests of all parties.

I’m an optimist. I still believe it can happen.

In the meantime, the Burlington Executive Airpark will continue to serve the interests of our community, and our Region. We’re here for the long term and look forward to moving forward with our neighbours.

Vince Rossi

Burlington Airpark Inc.

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Burlington Airpark – Environmental Review Chronology

(Click here to download Environmental Review Chronology.)



south (downstream) of the Airpark and send same to a laboratory for analysis.
March 22, 2013 Ontario Ministry of Environment – laboratory results obtained by MOE from two samples come back negative. Scott Thompson (MOE) reports to Christopher Collings (Environment Canada enforcement officer) - “I sent it [the samples] to the lab requesting analysis for Hydrocarbon and BTEX. Everything was non-detect.”
May 15, 2013 Environment Canada – Christopher Collings receives complaint from an unnamed “resident in North Burlington” wanting to file a complaint and asks for soil testing.
June 3, 2013 Environment Canada – Environment Enforcement Officer Collings and Enforcement Officer Polyoka attend at Airpark and conduct an on-site inspection from 10:47 to 15:25. Nothing is found to warrant any action. “EO Collings recommends FILE CLOSURE. There is no further action required based on a thorough inspection of the entire property of Burlington Executive Airpark showing no violations under the Fisheries Act, section 36(3).”
July 11, 2013 Terrapex Environmental Ltd. – issues report to City of Burlington claiming that most of the soil samples from the imported fill voluntarily supplied to the City by the Airpark have exceedences. However, in doing so, Terrapex erroneously uses MOE Table 1, not Table 2. Based upon foregoing, City of Burlington asks Ontario Ministry of Environment
July 16, 2013 Ontario Ministry of Environment – responds by letter to July 11, 2013 Terrapex Report and City of Burlington and advises, amongst other things, that Terrapex used wrong standard in its analysis (MOE Table 1 instead of MOE Table 2). – completes a Phase II audit report based upon recommendations in Phase I report. “All reported measurable concentrations in the soil and groundwater samples submitted for analysis of PHCs (F1-F4), VOCs or BTEX satisfied the applicable MOE Table 2 Standards.” “Based on the finding of this Phase II ESA, it is Pinchin’s opinion that no further subsurface investigation is required in relation to the findings of the Phase I ESA.”
July 23, 2013 Ontario Ministry of Environment – responds by letter to July 11, 2013 Terrapex Report and City of Burlington and advises, amongst other things, that Terrapex used wrong standard in its analysis (MOE Table 1 instead of MOE Table 2).
August 1, 2013 Airpark Solicitors – a solicitor on behalf of Airpark, who is also a trained chemist, conducts cross-examination of author of Terrapex Report. The cross-examination revealed, amongst other things:
-a number of test results recorded by Terrapex as “fails” were in fact passes
-Terrapex miscounted the number of soil test results
-Terrapex had applied an even stricter standard than one they said they had applied in the Terrapex Report of July 11, 2013
August 23, 2013 Terrapex Environmental Ltd. – issues letter to City attempting to reargue its assertion that MOE Table 1 is proper standard but admits that “…we agree that Ontario Regulation 153/04 [i.e. MOE Table 1] does not strictly apply to conditions at the Airport site….”
August 23, 2013 Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Region of Halton – at request of neighbours, attend to test neighbours’ drinking water wells located immediately adjacent to where the fill was being placed -according to City of Burlington Update #6 dated September 9, 2013, the samples were tested for inorganics, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and petroleum hydrocarbons. The test results were compared to MOE Table 2. “The Region has indicated that no exceedances were reported.”
September 13, 2013 Ontario Ministry of the Environment – responds to the Terrapex letter of August 23, 2013 and indicates that it disagrees with the statements made therein by Terrapex and that its position has not changed as set out in its letter of July 23, 2013.
November 20, 2013 City of Burlington – writes to the Ontario MOE and demands that the Ministry, “if warranted, make a remedial order against the Airpark requiring it to remove contaminated soil from its site or take steps to keep contaminants from moving onto the adjoining properties.”
November 27, 2013 Ontario Ministry of the Environment – responds “The ministry will take action in the event there is evidence of a potential off-site adverse effect under our legislation. There is no such evidence at this time. The sampling of the adjacent private wells conducted by the Ministry and Halton Health indicated no exceedances of the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards or the Ministry of the Environment Table 2 Brownsfields standards.” [emphasis added]


– Pinchin Environmental, Region of Halton, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Environment Canada have investigated the imported soil and/or water and/or neighbours’ well water as follows:

March 4, 2009 - Region of Halton

June/July 2012 - Pinchin Environmental

December 17, 2012 - Ontario Ministry of Environment

June 3, 2012 - Environment Canada

July, 2013 - Pinchin Environmental

August 23, 2013 - Region of Halton/Ontario Ministry of Environment

None of these six investigations has found any problem with the fill or evidence the fill was having an impact on water.

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