Towering pile of waste proposed for Fredericton landfill

·2 min read

The Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission wants permission to add 29 metres — almost nine storeys — to its height limit for waste storage.

Growing up, not out, is more environmentally friendly, said Don Fitzergald, executive director of Regional Service Commission 11.

"We think it's the most responsible way to approach our challenge of storing waste and to maximize what we can put on a specific amount of ground," he said.

The current height limit for storage is 59 metres above sea level. Fredericton Region Solid Waste is asking for another 29 metres, for a total of 88 metres.

Factor in base elevation at 30 metres and the pile of stored garbage will be about the same height as the steeple at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Fredericton, which is 60 metres.

Fitzgerald said the structure will be built up in a pyramid shape so the footprint at the base will not increase.

"We cut down fewer trees, we impact fewer species, we minimize the impact, we minimize our environmental impact, which is important to us as solid waste management as is primarily driven by a desire to reduce environmental impacts," he said.

The addition is expected to extend the life of the landfill about 17 years.

The Solid Waste Commission presented its plan to Fredericton's environmental stewardship committee.

Coun. Kevin Darrah brought up a common concern

"Smell has always been an issue," he said.

Darrah said he has received odour complaints from people in his ward who live near the landfill.

General manager Brett McCrea said that a landfill gas collection system has helped reduce the smell, and to further reduce it, the waste commission is developing smaller cells, or volumes of waste separated by liners.

"That's one-year cells and of course the smaller the surface area of your cell the less likelihood of additional odour," he said.

The province is conducting an environmental impact assessment, Fitzgerald said.

The committee voted to send a letter of support for the expansion to the province.

Fitzgerald said he hopes for approval by June.