The City of Iqaluit needs to provide more information about the impacts a newly built dump could have on permafrost, climate and wildlife, Nunavut’s Department of Environment told the Nunavut Impact Review Board on Jan. 14. This image from an October geotechnical study shows the location of the landfill in relation to the City of Iqaluit. (File photo)

Nunavut government wants more info on Iqaluit’s new dump

Department of Environment raises questions about contaminating Sylvia Grinnell River

By Beth Brown

The Government of Nunavut says the Nunavut Impact Review Board needs more information to complete its environmental screening of the City of Iqaluit’s proposed new landfill and waste transfer station to be located about 8.5 kilometres northwest of the city.

That’s according to letters submitted to the board on Jan. 14, in response to the city’s long-overdue plan to replace the dump at West 40.

Those submissions—from Nunavut’s Department of Environment, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada—ask for more detail about how the city will combat climate change, protect permafrost and deter wildlife at the dump.

“Due to the presence of organics and other wastes the landfill will produce smells likely to attract wildlife including predators such as polar bears,” states the Department of Environment’s submission.

The city plans to put up an electric fence, and cut back on odour and floating trash by baling garbage at a waste transfer station to be built at an industrial area near the airport.

But, because the new landfill site is just four and a half kilometres from the Sylvia Grinnell River, one of the Department of Environment’s primary concerns is potential contamination to drinking water, and to a nearby fishing area where char is abundant.

“The Sylvia Grinnell River is of great importance to the people of Iqaluit through fishing, recreation, and drinking water. Contamination to this river would be severely detrimental to these activities,” the Department of Environment wrote.

The city’s proposal says that activities such as camping, fishing and berry picking won’t be interrupted.

The Department of Health gave conditional approval to the city in August, saying that the dump project could proceed with formal approval if the city sent more information on public health and sanitation measures.

“The Department of Health still requires the timely sharing of all technical documents and project specifications to verify conformity to the Public Health Act and General Sanitation Regulations,” the department’s submission said.

Environment and Climate Change Canada echoed the Nunavut government’s concerns over water contamination from toxic drain-off. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada critiqued the city proposal over a lack of an oil-spill plan for heavy equipment used at the new dump.

The review board submissions come after the Nunavut Planning Commission sent the city’s landfill proposal to the review board on Dec. 3, 2018.

The City of Iqaluit has until Jan. 30 to respond to these concerns through the impact review board.

Under the new waste management proposal, all wood and cardboard in Iqaluit will be shredded and used to heat the proposed waste transfer station. Shredded tires will be shipped south in containers, a compost area will be opened, and, a community “re-use” area will be set up.

The landfill will likely be designed to sit on top of the existing land, and “minimal excavation will likely be done to preserve the permafrost,” the city proposal said. “By upgrading this vital piece of community infrastructure, waste will be handled and disposed of in a clean and efficient manner, which is better for overall human health compared to a traditional landfill.”

The federal government committed $26.2 million to the landfill last summer. In addition to that, the city has earmarked $8.7 million for this purpose.

Built in 1995, the current city landfill at West 40 was only meant to serve Iqaluit for five years.

The site is renowned for a 2014 fire that cost the city more than $3 million to put out.

The new landfill has an estimated lifespan of 75 years.

Share This Story

(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Stank on

    Legit concerns. Glad someone is asking questions. These are questions that should have been asked with the current dump.

  2. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Just as I feared when this dump site was first proposed. The city has no idea how it will manage the issue of contamination from run-off, other than to say “trust us it won’t happen”. Thankfully no one trusts them and I predict that this site will never be approved by either the Impact Review Board or the Water Board. Thank God that there are competent IPGs, federal and territorial agencies looking after the welfare of Iqaluit’s fresh water and fish otherwise we would be in very deep trouble indeed.

  3. Posted by pissed off on

    Well it looks like another round of pissing contest between governments.
    How come the proposal was not done in accordance with the regulating bodies involved ?

    They float a very large and important project without running it first with those concerned and in a position of authority first.

    Real bunch of amateurs!!!! Except that they are very well paid amateurs.


  4. Posted by Arctic hunter on

    Very bad spot for the Dump. All contaminates will run off to town and run through the streams through town.

    Not a good situation for all Iqalumiut. And future generations to come.

  5. Posted by Environmental Studies on

    Relax everybody and enjoy a cup of herbal tea. These comments from the government intervenors are routine, normal, nothing to get excited about.

    Everyone has known for many years that this where the city decided to put the new landfill. The federal government finally came up with something like 26 million dollars to go with the 8 million dollars from the city and the road is already built. This project is going ahead.

    This landfill is a component of the waste management plan that goes back to 2014. The Nunavut Water Board basically signed off on it in 2016 when they issued the municipality of Iqaluit its water licence. The water licence amendment to complete this process will be granted in the coming months, no fuss, no bother.

    The Nunavut Impact Review Board will take the comments into account and make sure the information is provided to the GN and the feds and they will make sure that mitigating actions are mandated in the list of terms and conditions that the city has to follow. No fuss, no bother. The NIRB will put out a decision probably by spring so the city can start constructing the landfill this summer.

    By the way, what’s the alternative, another dumpcano? Where else can they put this landfill site? You think it would be possible for someone to try to be constructive and positive about this? We in Iqaluit have waited way too long for a new landfill and proper waste management with recycling and we finally have the solution

  6. Posted by Not liking location on

    Why would they built the new dump upwind, upstream and uphill from the city.
    Greenland incineration create enough surplus heat to heat most buildings in Nuuk and run a line to keep water and sewage lines warm. Hmmmm. They were in Iqaluit and suggested we install a 26 million dollar burner which consumes 1.5 metric tons per hour. They figure in 25 years it would consume all the waste we produce plus we could burn the existing dump completely. 1 metric ton of waste produces 35Kg of Biochar. And emissions are below the existing atmosphere air. This is according to Danish air quality regulations. Their existing burner is 30 years old and still exceeds Danish air quality law. Something to think about eh? And we are going to bag it put on the hill until we can decide what to do with it. Good plan.

Comments are closed.