Landfill rates are on their way up in Yorkton, and they will increase in each of the next three years.
Historically, Yorkton’s landfill rates have been below the majority of Saskatchewan cities, explained Michael Buchholzer, Director of Environmental Services with the City at the regular meeting of Council Monday. With these increases, our rates are still below other cities averages of $48/tonne.
“As indentified in previous landfill reports and budget documents, our landfill is near capacity and requires expansion. Communities, such as Regina and Saskatoon, who require a new landfill or are using new technologies to mediate problems within existing landfills, are increasing their rates to accommodate these new costs,” said Buchholzer.
Fee increases are required to offset the landfill’s operational and capital costs and to promote recycling, he added.
Regulations changes are also pushing future costs higher, said Buchholzer.
“With Ministry of Environments changing landfill regulations and design criteria, cell construction costs have increased,” he said.
New pits must include a liner, a leachate collection system (leachate is the liquid produced in a landfill from the decomposition of waste within the landfill), lift station, and a leachate holding or treatment cell, detailed a report circulated to Council.
So fees need to rise, offered Buchholzer.
“A report completed by Stantec Engineering, indicates the average breakeven tipping fees should be $65.00 per tonne to operate the expansion. To calculate this cost they have included approximately 26 million dollars of operational, capital, construction, and land costs over the 40 year expected life span,” he said. “… To offset these future costs, administration is proposing a three year rate schedule.”
Highlights of the new rates are:
• increasing commercial and residential rates by $12.40/tonne in the first year, then $10/tonne yearly in 2014 and 2015.
• increases to organizations that do not have signed agreements with the City
• increase to those that bring in mixed or recyclable loads
• minimal rate increase for material that is recyclable at the landfill or easily handled.
“This new commercial rate correlates to a 2013 tipping fee rate increase of approximately $4.00 per dump based on a consumer having a five yard refuse container. The life expectancy of our existing landfill is estimated at two to three years,” said Buchholzer.
Councillor Ross Fisher questioned why, if the costs were $65 a tonne, the increase was not to that level.”
Buchholzer said $65 reflects the expected cost at a new landfill, adding by 2015 “we’ll be close to that rate.
Coun. Chris Wyatt said a phase-in helps users adapt and adjust their budgets.
Buchholzer said the changes reflect a change in how people need to view garbage.
“With these added costs and stricter environmental regulations for establishing new landfills, communities need to change their attitude towards the handling of solid waste. The obvious alternatives are waste reduction and recycling strategies, but other technologies are beginning to gain acceptance. Administration is in discussions with companies on other alternative methods of waste disposal such as; reuse of material hauled into the landfill, incorporating recycled material into the construction of our new pit, and evaluating proven waste to energy technologies,” he said.