The future plans for the Squamish landfill have been advanced by years thanks to a cash injection by the federal government.
MP John Weston announced the funding at the landfill on Friday (Feb. 10) with MLA Joan McIntyre and Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham.
The $4 million in funding is coming from Canada's Gas Tax. Money collected through the gas tax is targeted for projects such as local road improvements, public transit, energy systems and waste management infrastructure that lead to cleaner air, cleaner water or reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Weston said securing the funding was a team effort involving the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM).
According to McIntyre communities submitted their funding requests for projects to the UBCM and the UBCM made recommendations to the provincial government on which projects should be funded and the provincial government then made recommendations to the federal government.
The money will be used to build a system to trap polluted water at the landfill and transfer it to the wastewater treatment plant. This upgrade will divert about 26.5 million litres of untreated leachate from going into the ground at the landfill each year.
According to Rod MacLeod, the District of Squamish's Solid Waste Project Manager, the leachate collection system at the landfill is going to be expanded. A leachate collection liner will be installed in the next landfill phase and water collected will flow to a leachate pond where the polluted water will be pre-treated before the water is allowed into the wastewater treatment system.
As well, a cover of impermeable clay and a liner will be installed within the next year over the portion of the landfill that has reached capacity and that will help to reduce the amount of leachate produced by that area of the landfill.
"That's going to improve the outflow at the other end," said MacLeod.
Part of the long-term plan for the landfill is to have a paved and covered drop off area where landfill users can sort materials being dropped off. MacLeod said the improved drop off area is likely still a few years away.
The long-term plans for the landfill also include capturing and using landfill gasses. Capture pipes were installed, said MacLeod, and the pipes are effectively collecting the gasses but those gasses are currently being released to the environment.
The landfill expansion project currently underway is going to allow the landfill in Squamish to operate for another five to eight years depending on how effective Squamish residents are at keeping recyclable materials out of the garbage totes that are picked up from each residence every two weeks.