Whitehorse Daily Star

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EXPANSION PROPOSED – This photo of the Whitehorse landfill shows the existing lease areas and special waste treatment building on the right, and the proposed activity area on the left. Photo courtesy UNDERHILL GEOMATICS LTD.

More time granted to study waste treatment plan

Environment Yukon has asked for more time to evaluate a proposal to expand the special waste treatment facility at the Whitehorse landfill.

By Chuck Tobin on January 9, 2017

Environment Yukon has asked for more time to evaluate a proposal to expand the special waste treatment facility at the Whitehorse landfill.

This morning, the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board granted the extension for public input to the full 35 days allowed for in this level of assessment. The public now has until Feb. 9 to provide submissions to the assessment board.

KBL Environmental Ltd. is proposing to add increased treatment capability at its existing facility. That would include the ability to treat soils that cannot be decontaminated by simply exposing them to sunlight and turning them over periodically.

KBL is also proposing to create a facility that can separate and recycle material from contaminate sites such as wood products and metals.

The application, filed in December, was put on-line by the board last week for public review.

Another hectare of land would be required on top of the half-hectare the company currently leases from the city, the proposal notes.

“Government of Yukon, Environment requested an extension to the Seeking Views and Information period while the department is in discussions with the proponent about the source of contaminated soil, as well as the plans for segregating and handling of non-treatable material,” says the board’s decision to grant the extension.

The existing facility opened in 2013. It serves as a special waste transfer facility for waste material that needs to be containerized and shipped south.

KBL project director Shawn Samborsky explained this morning the expanded facility would be able, for instance, to treat soil that cannot be treated at the two existing soil treatment facilities in Whitehorse and needs to be trucked south.

Currently, most soil that can’t be treated locally gets sent to Fort Nelson, B.C., he explained.

Samborsky said the proposal calls for the installation of a kiln to heat-treat the dirt that needs a greater level of treatment, which would avoid the high cost of shipping the material to Fort Nelson or even further south.

“That is a really long distance,” he said of not only the cost but also the greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning the truck fuel required.

“So if you can come up with a local operation to deal with this material, then you want to build this into your business plan, and that is what we have done.

“In any place where there is industrial development, there is inevitably sites that need to be remediated, and I do not know that Whitehorse is any different in that regard.”

Samborsky said if there was any reusable materials coming out of a contaminated site, it would be KBL’s intent to find a use for them.

The proposal before the assessment board notes expanding the facility would provide greater ability for the facility to participate in the cleanup of the Marwell tar pits that will be going ahead.

The entire area would be fenced. Any areas where material is being handled would be protected by an impermeable ground liner, the proposal notes.

It also lays out how it would provide for standard requirements to provide for monitoring of ground water in and around the site.

It’s expected three full-time employees would be required to operate the new facility, says the proposal.

Samborsky said if permits are received in time, KBL would like to begin construction in May, with an aim of being operational in July.

The company is not disclosing its anticipated cost of building the additional facilities, he said.

Comments (3)

Up 6 Down 0

Max Mack on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:44 pm

While sounding like a winning proposal on its face, there are important questions that need to be considered. Will this "lease" fall within the current landfill boundaries? Will this remediation site shorten the expected lifespan of the landfill, resulting in increased costs due to having to gear up a new landfill site? How much in the way of grants, subsidies and low-interest loans will this company expect to receive from various levels of government to operate this facility? Will our taxes, utility fees, user fees, service fees and fines/penalties increase (yet again) to pay for this?

Up 6 Down 0

Read_the_proposal on Jan 9, 2017 at 5:37 pm

While the intent for this project seems good, projects like these require a good understanding of the groundwater hydrology to mitigate potential contamination issues. The groundwater component of this study was insufficient, with one well remaining dry. There was a reason why they drilled a minimum of 3 in order to adequately validate a model. Without a good groundwater model, you are guessing on travel times in a potential spill situation and appropriate mitigation strategies. Are there any plans on fixing it? This should be done before they get a permit, not afterwards.

Up 20 Down 2

ProScience Greenie on Jan 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm

It makes so much sense to expand the capabilities of this facility. Sure hope the anti-everything crowd does not try to shut it down and it is up and running by July.

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