Waste Management wants expansion approval in three years

An aerial view of Twin Creeks Landfill in Watford.

Heather Wright/The Independent

Waste Management officials say a plan to stack more waste in the Watford landfill to extend its life could be approved in three years.

But it will be a lot longer than that before construction begins.

Wayne Jenken, Area Landfill Engineer for Waste Management, told Warwick Council recently the Twin Creeks site has 12 years before it has reached capacity so the company needs to start planning now.

Jenken says WM considered a number of options to continue to provide services in the region, including redirecting waste to another site, developing a new landfill, enlarging the footprint of the Watford site or what he calls “optimizing” the current facility.
Waste Management is proposing building up by increasing the berms surrounding the landfill as much as 120 feet in some spots.

Jenken says the best plan is to have the approvals in place and then wait until the current landfill is near capacity before beginning construction. “We would prefer not to have to install the landfill cap and then remove it in the future.” That, he says would increase costs and likely cause odour issues with the neighbours.

But the mayor and council voiced some concern about the project. “How do we know it (the new slopes and current infrastructure) is not going to collapse under the weight,” asked Mayor Jackie Rombouts. Councillor Wayne Morris pointed out “You’ve had failure with these pipes before, I’m a little concerned about the extra weight,” he says.

Jenken agreed there has been problems in the past. “We didn’t respond fast enough,” he says as they brought in more waste, weighing down the pipes which are installed to handle the gases produced by landfills.

Jenken says since that incident, the company put in better controls “so it won’t be repeated.”

And he says it will take a lot of engineering to figure out how the berms should be reenforced and increased in height without further problems.

Waste Management is hoping to work with the municipality to make sure the application will eventually make it to the Minister of the Environment’s desk for approval. Jenken says company officials have set a target of five years to get the necessary government approvals for the plan. “We think it is approve-able in approximately three years if everything came together and everyone worked together.”

Jenken says the terms of reference for the project should be ready for review by April. He’s asked Warwick to make sure its technical review team is ready to take on the project when the paperwork is finalized.

And he says the company wants to start working with Warwick officials on improvements to the host site agreement, should the life of the landfill be extended.

Even if Waste Management gets the necessary approvals for the vertical expansion in three years, it will be some time before Watford residents notice construction.
Jenken told councillors the work would not likely begin until the current capacity of the landfill is almost reached. The lifespan of Twin Creeks is another 12 years.