Sanitary landfill fees are going up in each of the next three years in Yorkton.
The increases, which hit almost all fees at the landfill, are largely in response to the need for funds moving forward to pay for upgrades and expansions at the landfill by new provincial regulations.
“The Ministry of Environment is beginning to enforce their regulations, and communities province-wide are being forced to meet more stringent environmental guidelines. In order to meet these more stringent regulations, the City of Yorkton has made significant capital investments at the landfill of over $5 million, with the construction of a new engineered lined cell, with a leachate collection system, and a roadway network will be completed in 2018, with more engineered cells to be constructed in subsequent years,” explained Aron Hershmiller Assistant Director of Environmental Services, with the City.
With the added expenses to construct new cells and stricter environmental regulations for establishing new landfills, communities need to change their attitude towards the handling of solid waste, detailed material circulated to Yorkton Council on Apr. 23.
Hershmiller also noted, in a statement from the province in March, the premier stated that “Saskatchewan currently has approximately 350 landfills and that’s a number we want to reduce."
Councillor Randy Goulden suggested the number the province has in mind is 100.
The idea of decommissioning numerous small landfills makes sense at first glance but whether burning fossil fuel to haul garbage to centralized facilities or running heavy loads over our roads is factored in is unclear.
The obvious alternatives are waste reduction and recycling strategies.
Hershmiller said, at present, they recycle a few things such as concrete, asphalt, clean wood and shingles, items easily diverted from the regular garbage stream. In 2017 alone, the City diverted approximately 6,000 tonnes of recyclable materials away from the landfill.
But large scale recycling will be harder based on limited amounts and generally mixed garbage arriving at the landfill.
City Administration is in discussions with companies on other alternative methods of waste disposal, such as reuse of material hauled into the landfill and incorporating recycled material into new construction. But massive breakthroughs in that area are not likely to be forthcoming in the short term.
For local landfill users, and those over a wider regional area as well, the reality is costs are going to rise as we pay to manage more stringent regulations imposed from the province.