In a report submitted by Niagara Region Public Works Commissioner Ian Neville, dated April 25, staff recommends long-term landfill utilization to meet the regions waste disposal needs for the next 20 years, rather than construction of a waste-to-energy plant.
The report, written by Barry Friesen, Director of Waste Management Services, summarizes findings of consultants from Watson and Associates who were asked to compare the costs of various disposal options. Waste to energy ranked lowest in Watson and Associates assessment because of its expense. The preferred option involves utilization of the regions five existing landfills and negotiation of a long-term disposal contract with Walker Industries.
Walker Industries recently obtained permission from Ontarios environment ministry to expand its landfill in the area — an option that didnt exist when Niagara began searching for a solution several years ago. Niagara has an existing partnership with the City of Hamilton called WastePlan which is exploring long-term disposal options for both municipalities together. Consultants for WastePlan had recommended waste to energy, before the Walker landfill expansion option existed. (It must be remembered that diversion of waste from landfill is one of the WastePlan goals.)
Niagara staff are recommending continuation of the WastePlan process to assess new technologies and waste disposal options for the long term, for wastes that cannot be recycled or composted. Niagara would like to minimize or even entirely eliminate reliance of on landfill.
According to Watson and Associates estimates, if Niagara uses its own regional landfill sites until they reach capacity in 2013, then closes all the sites and uses waste to energy, the cost to Niagara between 2008 and 2028 will be $273.4 million (net present value). A combination of its own publicly-owned landfills and a contract with Walker Industries would achieve disposal, but cost only about $171 million, and avoid the controversy of siting a waste-to-energy plant.
The region will strive to divert 65 per cent of waste from landfill by 2012, and also evaluate strategies such as stabilized landfill and new thermal treatment options (many of which are in the demonstration stage), according to the report.
Note: The April/May edition of Solid Waste & Recycling features a cover story about waste to energy by contributing editor Clarissa Morawski and an article about stabilized landfill by Niagara Regions Director of Waste Management Services Barry Friesen.