Waste disposal has a big cost

The blue bins for Weyburn’s curbside recycling program can make a real difference to the future of the City’s landfill facility, but it will also take a hefty increase in tipping fees to help pay for the extensive plans set out for the city at Monday’s council meeting.
The question for city councillors to wrestle with is, are the proposed rates for the landfill justified, according to the plans laid out for the future of the landfill by consultant Tony Sperling of Sperling Hansen Associates?
According to Sperling’s research and plans, the City can extend the life of their landfill by between 36 to 62 years, depending on which options council will agree to go with in renewing and reshaping how the landfill is set up and used for the disposal of refuse.
The extended lifespan is impressive, but it’s dependent on increasing the amount of recycling done by city residents to 40 per cent of the waste stream, and on spending a few million dollars to make some big changes at the landfill site, with a special design for contouring and shaping how waste will be disposed of at the site.
The new recycling program has only been in effect for a few months for city residents, but already there will be a positive effect, as garbage pickup will go to once every two weeks starting in January, just for the winter months. The weekly pickup will resume in the spring, and will be in place until November.
As the level of recycling is sustained and increased to include businesses (some of which are currently disposing recyclables like cardboard into the landfill), the goal of having 40 per cent of the waste stream diverted from the landfill may be reached soon.
Meanwhile, council has to make a choice about which of the options they will select for reworking the setup of the landfill, with the price tag varying from $3,345,000 for going with phases 1-5, and if the city goes with the option of a sixth phase, that price tag goes up to $4,924,000. The fixed costs of operating will be around $740,000 a year, but this is based on recycling of 40 per cent of the waste stream.
The options for improving the landfill include replacing and relocating the entrance and scale by putting in a new scale and making that area safer, and relocating the oil recycling area and improving the conditions of that facility. What all of this will mean for the users of the landfill is a tipping fee of $80 or $85 a tonne, up from $46 at the current time. Is it worth the extra costs? To get a half-century or more out of the current landfill, this may well be way to go for the city. — Greg Nikkel

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