Saskatchewan auditor calls for stricter landfill regulations

The provincial auditor is calling for changes to the way Saskatchewan's landfills are constructed and inspected.

The provincial auditor is calling for changes to the way Saskatchewan's landfills are constructed and inspected. 

The call comes in the wake of a CBC iTeam investigation. Reporters looked at the way landfills are being managed after an out-of-control fire at the dump site in Kindersley, Sask. in October. 

The town declared a state of emergency after wind blew the flames toward a trailer court on the other side of the street.

Saskatchewan's auditor said the Environment Ministry needs to put standards in place, covering the way landfills are built and the way the sites are looked after. 

Judy Ferguson said many existing dump sites are not up to code, many are in need of updates and some should be shut down entirely.

Four out of five landfills lack documentation to show they were built according to plan, she noted. That's why Ferguson said there should be standards on design and construction. 

The auditor said monitoring needs to be improved as well. 

The report showed 30 landfills were not inspected frequently — in one case it had been six years between inspections. 

Dealing with problems created by a landfill site can be costly, Ferguson noted.

"Fixing contaminated water [is] very expensive," she said. "Sometimes you can't do it, so we're encouraging them to spend some effort up front to avoid the risk of that in the future."

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