Nova Scotia

Leachate plan for Sackville landfill draws opposition

A plan to use the Sackville landfill to dispose of leachate is drawing fierce opposition by residents.

Move could save $1M for city, staff report finds

Brad Johns opposes the plan to bring leachate to the landfill site. (CBC)

A plan to use the Sackville landfill to dispose of leachate is drawing fierce opposition by residents.

“Of all the years I’ve represented Middle and Upper Sackville, I've never seen as many people out to one single meeting as they were last Thursday night,” Brad Johns, councillor for the area, said Monday.

A public meeting last week discussed the plan, and a second one will return to the topic Monday night in Hammonds Plains.

The landfill closed 18 years ago, but Halifax council believes using it for the leachate waste would save the city money. The site has a leachate treatment plant that aerates runoff from the landfill and sends it through sediment ponds to be filtered.

Halifax staff recommended sending leachate from other landfills to the Sackville facility, as it’s operating at less than 50 per cent capacity. The move could save nearly $1 million by not trucking leachate out of the province.

Leachate is the liquid that moves through the dump and pools nearby. It is removed so that it doesn’t mix with nearby groundwater.

'Closed is closed'

Coun. Steve Craig chaired the landfill closeout committee. He supports the public consultation process. He says the staff report that recommends revisiting it makes sense, but it wouldn’t be fair to residents.

“I would not vote for leachate going into the Sackville landfill. I will be looking at what 'closed is closed' means and putting the final nail in the coffin of the leachate treatment plant and the Sackville landfill,” he said.

Johns said when it was open, residents suffered through stench, rats and seagulls. The site is quiet today, apart from the sounds of the leachate treatment plant.

The staff report found that added leachate would pose no environmental problems.

Johns said that’s not a good enough reason.

“The landfill’s been closed to any new material, whether it’s liquid or solid, for almost 20 years, so HRM's proposal is bringing waste onto the property and thereby reopening the facility.”

Council will vote on the issue later this year.