Clean Harbors expansion underway

Clean Harbors, St. Clair Township

Clean Harbors has started construction on its multi-million dollar expansion and it’s bringing in some huge equipment to get the job done.

The Ministry of the Environment approved the company’s plan to begin piling waste higher in the existing landfill recently – extending the life of the site by 25 years and piling waste as high as the current 25-foot berms.

Final approval from the ministry came Oct. 12 and Mike Parker,  Clean Harbors vice president of environmental compliance, says work began almost immediately.

There are two major parts to the expansion. The company is creating a waste receiving area and digging a new collection pond and deep trenches to collect any run off.

Parker says the company is building a large concrete pad which leads to a preformed steel basin. Parker says the trucks coming in will drive up to the pad and drop their waste into the steel basin. Clean Harbors staff will then take the waste to be treated.

Right now, trucks drive in and dump the waste themselves but as the site fills, trucks would have to drive on top of waste to drop off their loads. The concrete pad will eliminate that.

“That way any vehicles coming in from off site don’t come into contact with the waste,” says Parker. “Driving into a hazardous landfill site doesn’t work out…the trucks end up driving some of the waste off site and that just doesn’t work for us.”

A new process water pond is also being dug now. “The majority of the soil is being used to make a platform to bring a special trenching machine in from the States,” says Parker.

The machine will, in one pass, dig a trench between five and seven feet deep, lay gravel and the piping. “The trench is to collect the leachate …and every 200 or 300 meters a sump is drilled down nine meters, that’s where it is all collected…Any leachate moves into the trench and anything slightly outside of it is sucked in,” says Parker. “Everything goes down through the trench, is pumped to the leachate pons or tanks and then sent to the incinerator for treatment.”

The trenching is expected to be done in a couple of weeks. The contractor has to have a special heavy haul permit to bring the equipment and a special track used to operate it overland. It’s expected to arrive at the end of this week.

The company hopes construction can be complete by the end of November. It’s expected to cost between $5 and $7 million.