Dig it, compact it and move it: that’s the basis of a plan for Southgate’s landfill that had been waiting for the go-ahead for several years.
The province had to agree to amend the certificate for the Egremont site to allow the process, which also will gain seven metres in depth.
That’s an estimated 25 years of capacity – but of course, factors like success in diversion or an increase in residents affect that number. The capacity at the last report, was estimated at more than 100 years.
COST AND BENEFIT
Southgate Council approved the plans presented by the Public Works Manager in 2017, supported by the many studies required to support the application by consultant GM Blueplan.
A first estimate of the coast in the staff report is about $180,000, which will be included in a future budget.
“To get 25 years of landfill life for that price is unheard of,” Public Works Manager Jim Ellis said recently.
Because the historic waste was not compacted, by mining it, crushing it and re-filling it to make best use, the site life is extended.
The approval certificate applies to the area of 3.3 hectares. The township also owns all surrounding land that in the designated “containment attenuation zone.”
YEARS OF INNOVATION
Present public works manager Jim Ellis receives invitations to speak about waste management in Southgate, and in fact some of the background in this article comes from one of his slide decks.
But even back in 2007, present CEO, then-Environmental Services manager David Milliner spoke on a panel on “Municipalities Stepping Up” to challenges at a conference in Cobourg.
Southgate is well-known for its early efforts to divert waste with curbside pickup of recycling, organic (household and yard) and waste in 2003.
The diversion isn’t just at roadside. As residents know, at the transfer stations (in times outside of COVID) there are re-use areas, electronics, clothing, paint and other specialized areas as well as a hazardous materials “Orange Drop” box, added over the years.
Of course, when material end up being composted at the Egremont site or being sent for recycling, it doesn’t end up in the landfill.
So as the years go on, landfill life estimates actually have been trending upwards.
In 2016, another big step in that direction was approving the purchase of a compactor, which has also helped extend the life.
This latest innovation, to dig out and crush materials from “cells” that were filled earlier is a further step in that direction.
There have in the past been discussions about accepting materials from other municipalities, which would be allowed under the present approval. No proposals of that nature have come before council.
The cost when the present integrated program was put in place a few years after amalgamation was about $3.4 million, according to a township presentation. That included closing the Dundalk and Proton landfills, designing the two transfer stations, and the costs to get the cart and pick-up system in place.
When the pick-up program was proposed, it was not without protests over the cost, and troubles predicted with roadside pick-up on rural roads when heavy snow needed to be cleared in winter.
Continuing at the present site as long as possible, with approvals, water well testing and other monitoring equipment in place, postpones the further cost and controversy in locating a new site.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald