Saskatoon

City of Saskatoon says landfill filling quickly, not environmentally sustainable

If something doesn't change soon, the City of Saskatoon could be looking for a new landfill.

Study says 77 per cent of household garbage could be diverted from landfill

Saskatoon's landfill is filling up, and the city's administration is looking for solutions. (Josh Pagé/CBC)

If something doesn't change soon, the City of Saskatoon could be looking for a new landfill.

In a report to a city committee Tuesday afternoon, administration said the city wasn't meeting its waste diversion targets. That means the city's landfill is filling up faster than expected.

That could become an expensive problem. Closing and decommissioning the landfill alone would cost $26 million. That doesn't include buying land and developing a new spot for the city's garbage.

"Our goal is to not replace the landfill," said Mayor Charlie Clark. "We want to do these diversion programs and these other things so that we don't have to find another location."

According to a new study, 77 per cent of household garbage could be diverted from the landfill. One of the biggest ways to do that is to expand the city's organic garbage program.

Right now, the city has a green-cart program that takes food compost as well as grass and leaves. However, the paid subscriber service is limited to 8,000 households because that's all the current system can handle.

"We're challenged with our compost depots right now," said director of water and waste stream Russ Munro. "They're just about at capacity. If we want to expand our green cart capacity, we have to look at either more land or perhaps alternate technologies."

Councillors are recommending that a new waste-management master plan be set up around the city landfill to improve the situation. The new plan will look at everything from ways to increase the estimated life of the landfill to soil and water impacts to groundwater.

"It's a large and complex business that's provided through multiple divisions through multiple departments," said Munro. "We would like a singular document to guide us going forward."

Munro could not tell councillors how much longer the current landfill will last.

City council will need to approve the drafting of the plan at its next meeting.

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