Calgary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at landfill thanks to $5.8M from Ottawa

Ottawa is giving the City of Calgary $5.8 million to help the municipality expand its efforts at reducing landfill gas emissions.

Funds will be used to expand system that collects and burns off methane

The City of Calgary will receive $5.8 million in federal funding to reduce landfill gas emissions. Martin Ortiz, left, the city's performance operations leader for waste and recycling services, and Calgary MP Kent Hehr talk about the project on Monday. (CBC)

The City of Calgary is getting $5.8 million to help it expand its efforts at reducing landfill gas emissions.

The federal funds, which come out of the government's Low Carbon Economy Challenge, will go toward the expansion of landfill gas collection system at the East Calgary landfill.

"This important funding will help the City of Calgary expand its collection system for landfill gas, minimizing climate change impacts for the lifetime of the landfill," said Rick Valdarchi, the city's director of waste and recycling services.

The system collects methane that would otherwise have entered the atmosphere. The methane is flared off, releasing less harmful carbon dioxide instead.

A graphic illustrates how the city's collection system for landfill gas operates. (CBC)

Martin Ortiz, performance operations leader for waste and recycling services, says the expansion of the gas collection system is good news for the environment.

"What is the good news about this? We are collecting methane, which is 25 times more harmful than CO2. So by us converting methane into C02, we are having some greenhouse gas reductions," he said.

"It's more harmful to the environment to release methane than CO2."

When the expansion is complete, there will be 40 to 50 vertical wells.

"It is expected that GHG emissions will be reduced by more than 630,000 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of the project, by collecting landfill-generated methane and converting it into carbon dioxide."

Calgary Liberal MP Kent Hehr says such projects show that climate change is a challenge but also an opportunity.

"Canadians from across the country are coming up with innovative methods to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions, saving people money and creating good jobs along the way," he said.

"The low carbon economy fund is an important part of Canada's clean growth climate change plan."


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