Too much trash: Yukon village fighting for government help to run its landfill
At least 60% of what ends up at the Mayo dump is coming from the surrounding region, says village council
The Yukon village of Mayo is fighting for government funding to help offset the costs of operating its landfill.
Mayo spends at least $100,000 a year maintaining the site, but less than half the waste actually comes from the two hundred or so people who live within village boundaries, according to Mayor Scott Bolton.
The local council believes at least 60 per cent of what ends up in the dump is coming from the surrounding region, and they've noticed a significant increase since major mining activity in the area ramped up this year.
'It takes away from everything'
The landfill is filling up faster than it should for the number of residents, and faster than the village can afford to manage.
"The expense of the landfill takes away from other things in the community," said Bolton. "It takes away from recreation, from roads, from parks. It takes away from everything."
Bolton says running the landfill properly, and meeting environmental standards, is too expensive for a small community. They can't afford to staff the site full-time.
"Without somebody there we get tires, we get used oil, we get batteries. We get all those things that are not supposed to go in the landfill," said Bolton.
Village staff are diverted from their normal duties to spend hours sorting through mountains of trash to make sure hazardous materials don't end up underground.
Additionally, the Yukon government is requiring two new groundwater monitoring wells be installed at the site. Mayo has to cover the costs and Bolton says it's going to be "very, very expensive."
'It's 40 per cent of the use, 100 per cent of the costs'
Bolton says the village has been trying to get supplemental funding from the government for at least 10 years. "It's been terrible. We've been waiting for one study after another after another."
Mayo wants the site to be designated a regional landfill, so the village can access the same kind of government funding places like Watson Lake and Dawson City get for their regional facilities.
"We've been unsuccessful to have this designated a regional landfill and it really should be," said Bolton. "It's 40 per cent of the use, 100 per cent of the costs."
Bolton says the Yukon Government has initiated another study to see if the site should get a regional landfill designation.
He says, they've already done a lot of the things needed to qualify.
"The user fees are all there. It's just having that man in the facility to enforce it all."
Bolton hopes they get the designation this time. Otherwise, it's nearing the point where it will be cheaper for the village to ship waste to Whitehorse.