Amount of waste going into Wingham landfill has doubled since 2016

·3 min read

NORTH HURON – The lifespan of the North Huron landfill site in Wingham has drastically declined, and this has the Director of Public Works Jamie McCarthy concerned.

Reeve Bernie Bailey was surprised to hear that the operational years of the landfill had gone from a 95-year lifespan approximately eight years ago when he sat on council, to now only having a 50-year life cycle.

McCarthy spoke up during a discussion on an organic waste initiative that was on the agenda to bring up this more significant issue, saying, “I do believe another report is recommended…on the landfill.”

She told council that the amount of waste going into the Wingham landfill has more than doubled, from 2016 until now.

“It’s not only the organic waste,” she said, “but it’s a lot of the ways that the activities and the operations at the landfill are being conducted.”

“Not that they’re wrong,” McCarthy added, “they made sense before, but I would say from previous experience, it’s not the most efficient way of maintaining your asset.”

McCarthy went on to say that “there is construction and demolition waste going in there. That shouldn’t continue. We need a better monitoring system.”

The township is looking into a viable alternative to organic waste. Currently, there is no green bin program or similar initiative in North Huron.

The item on the agenda was to look at the FoodCycler program, an organic waste initiative that turns organic and food waste into compost, reducing the amount of waste being delivered to the township’s landfill site. Council had already voted on the item before McCarthy talked about the problems at the landfill.

The Wingham Advance Times reported on this subject in the July 28 issue.

A delegation from an Ottawa-based company, FoodCycler, presented to council at the July 19 meeting, about a proposed solution to organic waste disposal, especially in smaller towns that do not currently have a program in place, like the green bin program in larger towns and cities.

At the July 19 meeting, council learned about FoodCycler, which has developed a small machine that turns about one kilogram of food waste into 100 grams of an odourless material that can be used in your garden or house plants. One cycle of the machine takes a few hours and costs less than 10 cents to run.

McCarthy’s report said, “North Huron’s cost to participate in this 12-week program is approximately $27,000 with the opportunity to offset this cost through the sale of these units to residents.”

At that time council requested a report and recommendation from staff on the FoodCycler pilot project.

The program would see the township spend $27,000 on 100 units if they were to participate. McCarthy recommended using that money to fix the problems at the landfill instead of on an initiative that may not prove helpful.

“It is my recommendation that you take that money and invest it into bettering the landfill as a whole,” she said, adding, “there are other things that can be put into place…to maintain or extend the life of that landfill.”

Council ultimately prepared a motion to direct staff to come back with a report on the situation at the landfill, with recommendations, before they decide to participate in the FoodCycler program.

McCarthy also recommended that if the Environmental Advisory Committee does move forward, they take a look and see what else can happen in the future.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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