Study to look at alternate dump site
By Greg Nesteroff for the Castlegar News
The Regional District of Central Kootenay has approved $20,000 for a feasibility study on creating a new access at the Ootischenia landfill.
Mike Morrison, the RDCK's resource recovery manager, says it's partly in response to concerns raised by Columbia Road residents during consultation on a long-term waste management plan.
"The community wanted us to look at the traffic on the road and either develop an alternate access or ways to mitigate some of the issues," he says. "It's a rapidly developing area and awareness of traffic with the landfill has intensified in recent years."
Morrison says they already know it would be challenging to punch in a road down the steep bank off Highway 3, the most likely route. However, it has yet to be carefully examined.
"This study is just the initial phase, looking at the mapping and property information, analyzing the topography to see if something looks promising, and narrowing down a list of options and attaching some costs. Getting a sense of is it a $300,000 project or a $2 million project? At this point, we don't know."
As part of the overall plan, the Ootischenia site is slated to become a regional site following the closure of landfills in Salmo and Nakusp. That will mean additional truck traffic heading to Ootischenia, although Morrison says from the Nelson area it's only expected to be about three extra loads per day in the context of 200 other vehicles using the landfill daily.
"The increase associated with our closures of the other landfills is minimal," he says. "Some commercial traffic will direct haul as well, but the bulk will be small loads still going to the Nelson transfer station."
The closure of the Salmo and Nakusp landfills creates financial opportunities for Ootischenia, because more revenue will go into the site, Morrison says.
If the study determines a new access isn't in the cards, it may make other recommendations to deal with concerns raised by residents.
"That's what we hope to establish: if it's not viable, what else can we do?" he says.
GAS CAPTURE APPLICATION DENIED
An application for a provincial grant to capture methane gas at the Ootischenia landfill has been turned down.
The regional district sought a little over $832,000 for the project in gas tax funds, but was denied last month.
The project would have seen equipment installed before it becomes mandatory under provincial legislation.
"We're not required to put capture equipment in for several years hence, but if we install it early, we would be able to sell the carbon credits generated," Morrison says.
He adds they didn't get as far as determining what would be done with the methane. At small landfills, it's typically flared to eliminate harmful effects, but in some places has been upgraded to pipeline quality and injected into the natural gas system or used for small scale power generation.