The council for Leeds and Grenville counties council is getting closer to using incineration for municipal waste disposal. Members agreed Tuesday to appoint a subcommittee to study “high-rate oxidation”; their study will include building a prototype incinerator unit or units in the counties.
Bill Thake, waste management committee chairman, says it’s time to either move ahead or drop the idea. Local politicians were quoted in the media saying they thing it’s a good idea, noting that incineration has the advantage of creating electricity that can be used or sold. Funding is available from the federal and provincial governments as well as other sources.
The committee has already heard two presentations on the issue, one from Northern Watertek Corporation of Ottawa and another from Algonquin Power, a private company that operates the incinerator in Peel Region. Proponents say their systems burn waste at extremely high temperatures and that it’s cleaner, cheaper and more environmentally sound than landfill.
The county has already spent millions to select a regional landfill site in Edwardsburgh Township, known as ED19. But the estimated $40- and $60-million cost of developing the site to accept municipal waste has some councillors looking at less costly alternatives.
The certificate of approval for the regional site doesn’t preclude incineration. Other existing landfills in the counties could have their certificates modified to accommodate a unit as well.
Some councilors agreed to share in the cost of a feasibility study, but not the installation of an incinerator. Some towns have landfills that will serve local needs for a long time. The small facility in Front of Yonge has a life expectancy of 50 years and the one in Leeds and Thousand Islands has a life expectancy of 20 years.
Local politicians say that if the county gets involved in the waste business it should assume full responsibility for waste management, including control of existing municipal landfills.