Going Up: Watford landfill may expand

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Heather Wright
The Independent

Waste Management wants to extend the life of its Watford landfill.
It’s started an Environmental Assessment which could see the Twin Creeks Landfill accept waste an extra 12 years until 2044.
The area the landfill covers would not increase according to Wayne Jenken, manager of the Watford site. Instead, Waste Management wants to increase the height of the landfill.
Right now, it is about 262 meters tall, he says. The current licence allows Waste Management to build up to 282 meters high. If the company gets provincial approval, it could be as high as 320 meters or about 1,050 feet high.
“What sparking this needs today is two things. One, we want to be able to continue to service our customers and provide long term disposal capacity beyond that 12 year period,” he says. But there is also a need to rebuild the slope of the current landfill so it won’t need to be opened in the future.
“This is about wanting to build the right infrastructure at the right time, not rework it, and have no nuisances and the issues that could exist in the future…Once a landfill is capped if that cap is removed in the future, there’s an opportunity for impacts from the landfill – odor, surface water impact… if we can build the landfill correctly, if we can optimize the site now and know how we’re going to build it in the future, we can minimize those impacts going forward,” Jenken adds.
Twin Creeks was opened in 1972. Waste Management took over in 1996 and began a long battle to expand the site. The expansion was approved in 2008, over the objections of the community.
Politicians at the time did negotiate a host agreement and since garbage began rolling in from as far away as Metro Toronto, and Barrie, the municipality has received $23 million in hosting fees according to WM.
In 2017, Waste Management received approval to bring in 1.4 metric tonnes of waste a year.
Jenken says if the expansion is approved, that would not change. It would simply extend the life of the landfill.
“Although customers may change or vary over time, we’re looking to maintain the same annual tonnage,” he says.
And he says it’s needed. Ontario’s three major landfills are accepting as much waste as they can.
Another 3.5 million metric tonnes is heading to Michigan a year from Ontario.

Warwick officials were briefed about the assessment Monday. Councilors were surprised by the request.
“Forty meters higher than it is supposed to be? Two hundred feet more?” asked Councilor Jerry Westgate.
Councilor Wayne Morris wanted to make sure the company wouldn’t be “mining” the waste to create more room since that’s where the odour surfaces. It is not, says Mayor Jackie Rombouts. She says the company says the information is preliminary and the Environmental Assessment will look at a number of ways to do things. “There is definitely going to be a lot of discussion on this,” she told council. “We will definitely be asking these questions.”
Jenken says members of the public can learn about the proposal on Waste Management’s website where a virtual public meeting is taking place until December.
He adds it could be as long as five years before any decision is final and approved by the provincial government.