Cork: County in solid position to deal with waste

WELLINGTON NORTH – The County of Wellington will be well positioned to deal with solid waste when a second cell at the Riverstown Waste Facility opens next year.

County councillor Campbell Cork updated Wellington North councillors on progress at the facility during the Nov. 9 videoconference meeting.

Cork said Riverstown Phase II will be the first local site built from the beginning to rigorous standards. It is located west of Highway 6 between Kenilworth and Mount Forest.

“The thing that’s got the county pretty excited about this is it’s the first engineered sanitary landfill site in the county,” said Cork.

“All the others just sort of started out as more or less a hole in the ground and it went from there.”

Cork said the county’s solid waste services division estimates the original cell has about a year of usage left.

“As we know, Riverstown is the only landfill site (all other county waste facilities are transfer stations) in Wellington County and it serves the entire county,” Cork explained.

“The new cell, cell two, is basically ready to go. It’s been excavated to a depth of about 15 feet below grade, which is well above the water table, and when this cell is full – which is going out to 2043, maybe beyond, 2050, who knows? – the mound will wind up about 35 feet above grade,” Cork explained.

Cork told council the site will feature a bottom liner made of impermeable fabric, topped with pipes that act as weeping tiles which “collect any leachate that manages to get down that far  before it gets away and into water table or into surface water runoff.”

Eventually, said Cork the plan is to build a forcemain to pipe the collected leachate from Riverstown to the Mount Forest waste treatment plant.

However, he noted, “from the county point of view there’s no enormous rush to do this,” as it takes two years after landfill usage begins “before it actually starts producing a serious amount of leachate.

He pointed out the potential life of the new cell substantially exceeds the average expectation for landfill sites across the province.

“Here we are in Wellington County talking about 2043 and possibly beyond with this second site. Ontario, as an average, has just 13 … years of landfill left and at the moment, one third of Ontario’s landfill goes to the United States.”

That means if American facilities stopped accepting Canadian garbage, the situation would change.

“If that’s closed the Ontario average landfill capacity drops down to nine years. So we really are in a really healthy position that way,” said Cork.

However, he added, “It does concern me somewhat that … if the GTA, Toronto, southern Ontario, any of the big urban centres should have no place to put their garbage, they’re going to be looking around for a place to put it.

“And I’ve been assured that they won’t be able to bring it to Wellington County, but I have to say talk is cheap and when push comes to shove, who knows what the future could hold?”

North Wellington Community News