Harvey Ganske, attendant at the Recycle Depot ensures the correct paper is in the correct bin
before it is sold to the recycling company.
Every week on a designated day, blue garbage containers line residential streets in various sections of Wetaskiwin. During the day a truck bearing the City of Wetaskiwin logo comes along, a hydraulic arm reaches out, grabs the garbage container and empties it into the truck. The garbage is transported to the City of Wetaskiwin’s owned and operated landfill site located approximately 2 kilometers N.W. of the City. Here the garbage is ‘managed’ by sorting recyclable items and disposing the remainder by burying it in the landfill. But, once it’s covered, it is not forgotten.
Total waste into Wetaskiwin landfill decreases by 1309 tonnes in 2012
Each year, the City of Wetaskiwin hires an independent auditor to prepare an Annual Report on the state of the Wetaskiwin Regional Sanitary Landfill. The report is a requirement of Alberta Environment, under the Standards for Landfills in Alberta. The audit report presented to City Council by AECOM on November 26th had good news and bad news.
The good news is the total waste tonnage managed at the Landfill in 2011 was 13,555 tonnes, a decrease of 1309 tonnes for 2012. (one tonne equals 2205 pounds) In total the waste management program in Wetaskiwin diverted 5,424 tonnes (40%) of waste from the landfill through recycling and composting. Of that 992 tonnes was green waste (grass, branches) that was delivered to the Landfill for composting and 710 tonnes of waste were diverted at the recycling depot making the total diversion 6,134 tonnes. (and, that’s 13,525,470 pounds of waste diverted from the landfill) Only 8,131 tonnes of waste had to be buried which is less than the 10,000 tonne registration limit allowed by the landfill waste diversion programs.
Waste accepted at the Landfill is segregated into eight areas; the buried waste, compost, soil, concrete & asphalt, metals, tires, woodpile and burnable waste. Toxic and difficult materials are collected at the Recycling Centre to be specifically excluded from entering the landfill.
Wetaskiwin Landfill lifespan is only 8 to 10 years
In spite of the decrease in waste to be buried, the bad news is the Wetaskiwin landfill only has an estimated lifespan of 8 to 10 year remaining. According to Rick Wheatly, Assistant Public Works Superintendent, it takes about 10 years of planning to prepare a new waste management facility or program. He estimated the cost will be approximately $5 Million. The recycling depot established in 1998 has successfully extended the life of the landfill by collecting several types of recyclable materials such as paper, metals and plastics which are sold to recycling companies. The depot also collects branches and grass that are taken to the Landfill and composted.
The Wetaskiwin Landfill is carefully managed and regularly monitored to: (1) ensure worker safety and (2) provide an indication of how well the landfill material is being degraded. Four key components are monitored; surface water, groundwater, landfill gas and leachate.
As the water from leeching and runoff percolates through the decomposing solid waste, it becomes contaminated and is called leachate. The leachate contaminated groundwater at the landfill is collected and monitored for volume, temperature and chemical content in 34 wells (30” culverts) that are approximately 20 feet deep. They are located throughout the landfill.
Three pumping wells were installed in 2004 to contain the impacted groundwater within the Landfill boundaries. When necessary, leachate is hauled to the City’s waste water treatment plant. Council was assured there is no risk of leachate contaminating the wells of surrounding residents as the landfill is sealed with engineered lining materials (like clay).
The County's waste management strategy is based on an environmentally and economically responsible approach to the disposal of municipal solid waste generated within the County. To achieve this goal, the County entered into an agreement with the West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Committee to form West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Authority. The Authority owns and operates the Regional Landfill located within the County of Camrose at SW 14-44-21-W4M. The anticipated lifespan of the Regional Landfill, projecting current volumes, is in the neighbourhood of one hundred years. This alleviates any serious solid waste land filling issues in the County for the anticipated life of the site.
The County is divided into seven (7) waste management regions currently served by nine (9) waste transfer stations, and one (1) sanitary landfill. In the interest of environmental and economic benefit the County of Wetaskiwin will have closed and reclaimed all of its modified landfills by the end of 2004.
The County provides waste management service to its residents through a network of drop box style solid waste transfer stations, which is a container strategically located within various regions to be served along roads easily traversed by a collection vehicle. The individual resident or business establishment is required to deposit solid wastes in the container at the site location. The holding container provides an intermediate storage/disposal unit for the solid wastes generated by the surrounding population. Select sites (Gwynne, Mulhurst Bay & West Buck Lake) also include storage areas for various recyclable commodities (i.e. tires scrap metal & appliances).
The full containers are then transported to the West Dried Meat Lake Regional landfill for disposal. All recyclables collected are periodically removed by recyclers.
The City of Wetaskiwin has a "user pay" program for garbage removal services. Residents pay for waste services based on the volume of refuse they generate; $29 bi- monthly for 121 L , $58.00 bi-monthly for 242 L or $87.00 bi-monthly for a 346 L container. This three-tiered option is expected to increase recycling which means less refuse in the landfill and a subsequent landfill management cost saving to the taxpayer.