Matilda landfill expansion becomes favoured option

MORRISBURG – South Dundas council has opted to move ahead with exploring a proposed expansion of the Malitda landfill on Seibert Road.

Municipal council made the decision after receiving a report during a September 5th Committee of the Whole meeting.

At the meeting, council heard a report from Russell Chown, senior hydrogeologist environmental management with WSP. WSP was retained by the municipality to explore the landfill issue in South Dundas and provide some solutions.

“The survey in Matilda looks more favourable,” Chown told the council.

In Chown’s previous report to council, he proposed seven different options for expanding either of the two landfills in South Dundas, off site disposal, and even incineration.

During the time between the previous report and this current one, the Williamsburg landfill was closed, which shortens the life expectancy of Matilda in its present state. At current use rates, approximately 8,000 cubic metres per year, the Matilda landfill has two years of capacity remaining.

Of the two landfills, the Williamsburg site would be more costly to expand.

Chown said that any expansion would need to consider the Nash Creek provincially significant watershed.

The site would need to be compliant dealing with Ministry of Environment water quality regulations including dealing with iron, boron, and chloride in the landfill run off.

Expanding Matilda is the best option, but is not without some challenges.

Surface water run off is also an issue and would require changes to protect the two municipal drains that pass by the property boundaries.  Chown said that the landfill already needs more ground water wells drilled to monitor that location.

The already approved boundaries of the Matilda landfill property means that South Dundas could expand the landfill an initial 100,000 cubic metres, and an additional 100,000 cubic metre expansion could be done later.

“If [provincial] environmental policy allows at that time,” Chown added.

Trucking all waste from South Dundas for off-site disposal has a 12 year cost of $48 per tonne; while an expanded Matilda site would cost $12 per tonne.

The cost of covering the expansion with clay to be compliant with ministry regulations was not factored into the report’s final numbers.

Chown said the cost to cover would be $1.5 million. Adding that increases the cost to expand Matilda to $28 per tonne, which is still cheaper than the cost of off-site disposal.

Chown reiterated that the costs and life-expectancy of the landfill is based, in-part, on current use and operation of the landfill. Without changes to use, a new expansion will last 12 years.

For next steps, council agreed for Chown to move ahead with Phase One of planning for the Matilda site expansion. That will only cost about $33,000 and includes defining the new waste mound, hydrogeological testing, groundwater sampling, and preparing a preliminary report.

Phase Two will run another $30,000 and involve hydrogeological computer modelling. The final phase will get South Dundas the basic design and the preliminary impact assessment. At that point, the municipality will be ready for a pre-consultation meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks. That process should take six months to complete.

Chown said that, should the municipality move forward to the formal application process, it will cost another $350-400K to get to the point of an approved landfill expansion and will take another 6-12 months to complete.

To prepare the site for expansion will cost over $100,000, with much of that going to reconfiguring the municipal drains and dealing with run-off.

The planned expansion for Matilda will not be lined with clay on the bottom.

“The Ministry was good to talk to us,” Chown said. “They are open to expanding the site without a liner. But it is up to South Dundas to prove that it can be done.”

Chown added that if a liner was required, it would add $1-2 million to the price tag for site preparation.

Part of Chown’s presentation to council dealt with the costs of mothballing the now-closed Williamsburg landfill. That site was closed at the end of June by the municipality after being told to do so by MECP.

To properly close the landfill requires 60,000 cubic metres of dense clay, and 4,200 cubic metres of topsoil. Chown told council that this cover needs to be installed by the end of 2020 and it will cost approximately $1.5 million.

“We have $600K in reserves so far for that,” said South Dundas chief administrative officer Shannon Geraghty. He added that the cost could be spread over 2019 and 2020.

Following completion of the clay and topsoil cover layers, the municipality will have an ongoing cost of monitoring the site for a minimum of 25 years; Chown said it was more likely to be over 50 years, but that the monitoring requirements could be negotiated lower with the ministry after there is a proven track record of the stability of the site.

No plan was put forward at the meeting for how to pay for the remainder of the Williamsburg site closure.

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.