The low-down on Iqaluit’s new $35M landfill
Recycling and composting included in plans
The days of dumpcanos and recurring smaller fires at the landfill might be behind the City of Iqaluit by October 2020.
That’s when the city expects a new landfill to be built, thanks to $26.2 million in federal funding announced on Friday, July 20.
The announcement came just two weeks after the latest surface fire broke out at the city’s existing, overfilled dump.
Built in 1995, the current landfill was originally built as a stop-gap, to be used for just five years. But more than 20 years later, it still houses Iqaluit’s household solid waste.
Until now, the city has not been able to build a new facility because of the cost, said Amy Elgersma, the city’s acting chief administrative officer, in an interview on July 20 at the dump.
The city is contributing $8.7 million to building the new landfill, which will be located about 8.5 kilometres northwest of the community. The project’s cost includes closing and capping the old dump.
The new landfill will feature a 20,000-square-foot structure called a waste transfer facility. It is expected to offer recycling for metals and tires and composting for organics.
The facility will also feature an area where electronics, furniture and household items will be offered back to residents for re-use. And there are plans for the building to use a waste-to-energy process for converting wood waste and cardboard into heat.
At the current dump, waste is capped with dirt, rock and gravel. If it’s not covered quickly enough, the wind can blow items away or animals can eat it. The new landfill will be a bale-fill design, which involves compacting the trash into bales that are then wrapped in plastic and stacked in neat rows.
Construction of the new landfill is expected to begin in October 2019. The goal is for it to be open by October 2020.
Until then, the city has started stepping up some of its waste management practices to enforce stricter sorting and segregation at the existing landfill.
“We’ve put in some measures that we’re enforcing to prevent any kind of fires from happening again, which includes things like putting electronics in a sea can because the batteries in laptops can ignite when crushed,” Elgersma said.
Elgersma and the landfill staff also want residents to remember they should not include aerosol cans, batteries, propane cylinders, tires or paints with their regular garbage. These hazardous materials are sorted and then stored at the landfill in sea cans.
The city will also be putting up a special fence to keep debris from blowing out of the landfill.
As well, the city is implementing a stricter inspection program when a truck arrives at the dump. Staff used to do periodic inspections, but since the last dump fire officials say they want every item that enters the dump to be inspected and sorted.
Last Thursday, landfill staff checked 45 loads from individual drop-offs. Only one load was considered unacceptable, because it had a microwave in it.
The landfill foreman, Jeff McMunn, says they see over 50 truck-loads of garbage a day, from individual drop-offs and from street collection.
City officials also stress that there is a no smoking policy at the landfill—including no smoking within a car when dropping off a dump load. And they ask residents to respect the landfill’s hours of operation, which can be found on the city’s website.