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Two Moncton councillors want to move compost facility to address north end odour

Ward 3 councillor Dave Steeves says that he’s received hundreds of emails about an intermittent sewage smell in some parts of Moncton’s north end since being elected in 2021.

“When residents say that it is as if they are living inside a porta-potty, we’re just really standing up for the residents and saying enough is enough,” he said after a council meeting on Monday.

In previous studies carried out by the province on the smell, TransAqua was identified as a possible source of the smell, along with scrap metal recycling facility Rayan and waste disposal facility Eco360.

All three are located in an industrial area near the residential part of the north end.

On Monday, council heard a presentation about a study done on the air quality in Moncton’s north end completed by Hive Engineering, a private environmental engineering company.

It was ordered by council in August, and carried out throughout the month of September.

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The primary findings of the study were that while the air was safe to breathe, “Hive’s team confirmed and personally observed the odours reported by the community.”

After a lengthy discussion following the presentation of the report, council passed a motion that included a request that Rayan submit an updated odour mitigation plan to the province by the end of January, to “initiate discussions” with the province regarding potential air quality testing to be completed in 2024, as well as to “Continue discussions with TransAqua regarding ongoing odour complaints and further actions that could be taken to mitigate this issue.”

Four councillors, including Steeves and fellow Ward 3 councillor Bryan Butler, voted against this motion.

Steeves and Butler presented a notice of motion calling for  TransAqua to build infrastructure to move their operations indoors, or move outside the city limits.

“I think we’re just looking for some answers. This talk, and talk, and talk and this mitigation of odours which has been tried by TransAqua and they have taken some steps, it just doesn’t change the fact that residents in that area can’t sit on their deck and have a barbecue…” Steeves said.

“We’re looking for options but we’re getting fatigued with the long-winded discussions,” he said.

During the council meeting, Nick Robichaud, Moncton’s acting city manager, cast doubt on whether the city could force TransAqua to move.

When asked whether this was a possibility Elaine Aucoin, Moncton’s general manager of Sustainable Growth and Development, said she didn’t have a comment but said, “We can submit a letter, and ask them to investigate (the cost) and go from there,”

She noted that TransAqua had put some odour mitigation measures in place, such as hauling “some of the biosolids” to other locations during the summer months.

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