Nova Scotia

Halifax makes $60K a year selling old landfill methane

The smell and rodents are gone from the old Sackville landfill and the facility is now generating an income for HRM.

Sackville facility closed in 1996

The old landfill in Sackville is out of sight and out of mind for many residents, but Halifax’s solid waste manager says the site is still contributing thousands of dollars to the city’s coffers.

Councillor Brad Johns represents the area and remembers the nauseating smell and the repulsive rodents and seagulls.

"Residents about two and a half kilometres away would be able to smell it on a windy day," he said.

The 145-hectare spot has changed dramatically since it closed in 1996.

The city has a contact with a company which captures the site’s methane and turns it into electricity.

Solid waste manager Gord Helm said the city makes over $60,000 per year in revenue from the gas.

"It gets used as fuel for generators to produce electricity that gets pushed back into the grid," he said.

"So that does two things. One, it takes an otherwise negative environmental impact, the greenhouse gas, and produces energy, which is a green form of energy. But the other thing is if you look around here and see these trees, the byproduct of that, everything has gotten much greener. The trees have started to grow because that methane isn't sitting around the site and impacting the environment."

The leachate that leaks from the garbage is treated at an onsite plant. It goes through three phases before being released into the local bogs and ponds.

The methane is expected to dry up in 10 or 15 years and then the community will decide what becomes of the site.

Johns said other areas have turned their old landfills into golf courses.