Melfort landfill closure dependent on government deadline extension

·2 min read

The Melfort landfill was one of many topics of discussion during the capital budget meeting this past week.

Gerald Gilmore, the works and utilities director, said they have been working on a landfill that fits government regulations since 2017 but their current site does not fit that bill and will have to be decommissioned.

“Ours is not an engineered landfill. We don't have a plastic liner in it, and a leachate cell to collect components that we don't want to just leave free in the groundwater.”

Gilmore said the plan is to progressively fill the current landfill airspace, the remaining space within the landfill cell, with soil and cover it with vegetation and ventilation in order to change the movement of moisture and gas out of the cell. The city would like more time to do that, but Gilmore said that is up to the provincial government to extend that deadline. While the province has “in principle” agreed to the five-year extension, that has not been given to the city in writing.

If the city does get that five-year extension, said Gilmore hypothetically, then the city has four years to build a new landfill cell, which they are well underway of doing, he said.

The landfill’s decommission will not have any impact on waste collection by the city, since the waste will just be redirected to a new site that is located close to the old one. While the city can apply for Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) funding to decommission the previous site, the provincial government is not interested in helping municipalities build new landfills, Gilmore said.

“The ministry is normally not interested in building new landfills, so they don't fund new landfills. We have to fund it ourselves with our own resources.”

Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist