City facing steep costs for landfill closure

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By Nick Seebruch
City facing steep costs for landfill closure
Stock image of a garbage truck.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council heard at their meeting on Monday, Jan. 13 that the city needed to start saving and preparing now for the inevitable closure of the Cornwall Landfill.

A report from DFA Infrastructure International Inc. details that landfill has an estimated 12 to 14 years of life left in it.

Derek Ali, President of DFA recommended that the City create three reserve funds to help extend the life of the landfill and to prepare for its closure and the following 50 years of post life care that the site will require.

Ali recommends the establishment of a waste disposal reserve which he recommends receive $270,000 in 2020 and $420,000 from 2021 to 2029. He also recommends the creation of a waste diversion reserve to which he recommends council contribute $87,833 in 2020 and $100,000 for every year after.

The final and largest reserve that Ali recommended council create would be one to deal with the end of the landfill’s life and post life care. He recommends that Council create a reserve with a target of nearly $38 million and that the city begin contributing to it now to reach that target by 2032.

Ali explained that this end of life planning will mean a 40 per cent increase in the current cost of the landfill.

Council also discussed the creation of an organic waste diversion program, which municipalities are mandated to implement by 2025. Danielle Watson, the City of Cornwall’s Waste Management Supervisor told Council that the program could extend the landfill’s life by two years.

Part of this provincially mandated plan is that municipal landfills are expected to achieve a diversion rate of 50 per cent by 2025. Cornwall’s current diversion rate according to Watson is 30 per cent.

Currently, the City of Cornwall landfill also accepts septage, sewage waste collected from private septic tanks, a feature of the landfill described in the report as “unique”.

“I love it when it is about positive things. I don’t like being called unique when it is not a best practice,” said Mayor Bernadette Clement.

“I’ve been looking forward and also dreading this report, and when I read it, by dread was confirmed,” Clement went on to say. “We have to do a combination of things, including reducing the amount of waste we are producing.”

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