Landfill changes, growth discussed at Stettler County council

Stettler County residents gather at council meeting to hear landfill application

A number of taxpayers attended Stettler County’s regular council meeting Dec. 13 to hear details about an area landfill’s license renewal.

Waste Management’s area director, disposal operations Patrick Kalita, spoke at the council meeting along with several other WM staff about the license renewal for the privately-owned Big Valley area landfill.

Kalita stated the facility began operation in 1992 and added that the site disposes of construction and demolitions material, along with non-hazardous upstream oil and gas industry material.

He also noted the company had received three written statements of concern about the facility’s application for license renewal. He said one issue of concern was litter. Kalita noted that, in instances of very high winds, it’s difficult to keep 100 per cent of the litter on the landfill property.

Councilor Dave Grover, who represents the area the landfill is located in, had several questions for Kalita. Grover said he was curious why there was a large mound at one particular area. “Now there’s a big mound there, like a ski hill,” said Grover. Kalita noted the pile of dirt Grover referred to meets government regulations for height.

Councilor James Nibourg asked what would happen if the license application was turned down. Kalita responded WM would not be able to operate the landfill.

Nibourg asked what is done to prevent litter from leaving the property. Kalita responded that WM has 12 to 14 foot poles with netting between to catch the litter.

Nibourg asked if taller poles are possible to catch more litter, and Kalita stated it was possible, but the current cell is almost full and the company is close to moving to a new cell on the property. Capping will be done through the winter and final capping within two years.

Councilor Ernie Gendre noted work halts when 30 km/hr or faster winds start to blow. He asked what happens if garbage trucks show up at that time.

Kalita answered, “We stand the trucks down.” He added that the drivers have the option of waiting until the winds die down, or coming back later.

Grover asked how many test wells are at the site. Kalita answered about 30, mostly monitored by a third-party.

Councilor Les Stulberg asked if WM had met with their neighbour to discuss the license renewal. Kalita said the company had a community meeting two years ago but have no meetings scheduled right now. He added the company is considering a regular feedback plan.

Gendre asked why the company is filing the application so close to the deadline. Kalita responded WM actually filed their application last February, but the provincial government could not process the application on time.

At this point in the meeting councilor Grover, Kalita, the WM staff and all of the residents left the council meeting for a private meeting in a separate room as a chance for the residents to speak to WM representatives about their concerns.

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