The Terrace Area Integrated Solid Waste Management Program (TAISWMP) was generated following more than twenty years of planning, development, and community and stakeholder engagement after the creation of the Solid Waste Management Plan in 1995. The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine (RDKS) Board was the main driver of this program and maintained a strong vision over sixteen Board compositions. The Board wanted to set a strong example with respect to solid waste management infrastructure, and put in place a sustainable, long-term waste management facility with low environmental risk that would co-exist well with the surrounding environment.
Curbside collection was a key component of the project to ensure that residents were conveniently serviced. The three stream residential curbside collection service for 6,738 single family homes is part of the broader Terrace Area Integrated Solid Waste Management Program. The TAISWMP also includes the Thornhill Transfer Station and Forceman Ridge Waste Management Facility (FRWMF), which collectively manage organics, residual garbage and some recyclables. Multiple private depots also manage recyclables.
The transfer station is a staging location for residential and commercial haulers. It features an organics collection area as well as a building for garbage collection for both types of haulers. Residents can also drop off various types of waste materials into different bins, including organics.
The main components of Forceman Ridge Waste Management Facility are the landfill, composting facility, septage facility, and five step leachate treatement system. The composting facility diverts organics from the landfill and converts it into class A compost, resulting in less methane gas and leachate production at the landfill. The facility uses the GORE® Cover to improve composting speed and control odours. The compost will be used in the closure of the Thornhill landfill: Instead of topsoil, the compost will support a vegetative cover, which will reduce the closure costs. Once the Regional District’s need for compost is met, the remaining class A compost will be provided to the community. Dewatered septic tank and commercial grease trap materials from the septage receiving facility will also be composted for use at the landfill as final cover material or to improve phytoremediation of soils.
Extensive stakeholder engagement and public education/awareness campaigns during various stages of the TAISWMP were important for overcoming some resistance to the new three stream curbside collection service and broader TAISWMP. Engagement activities included working groups, workshops, open houses, sector specific toolkits, newspaper notices, mail outs, RDKS website updates, visits to commercial and institutional establishments, and classroom info sessions for elementary school students.
In order to successfully plan and implement this program, it was important to maintain balanced staff workloads. To achieve this, the RDKS hired subject matter experts to help with project.
A sustainable funding model was also key. Solid waste service costs are apportioned equally by taxation and user fees. Additional user fees are charged for curbside collection in Electoral Area C and E. Fees collected at the transfer station and landfill are charged per tonne and vary based on the type of waste disposed.
Processed 1363 tonnes of organics in 2017, which reduced GHG emissions by 2044 tonnes of CO2e
655 tonnes of recyclable items were diverted from the landfill through curbside collection in 2017. Residents dropped off an extra 85.5 tonnes at the depot.
Capacity to divert over 6,000 tonnes of organics each year
Organics diversion could generate GHG offset credits with an estimated value of $15 million throughout the life of the landfill.
The dollar value of topsoil savings with the use of compost as a cover in the closure of the Thornhill Landfill will be $40,680.
Diversion programs extend the life of the landfill so RDKS can amortize costs over a long time. The goal is for the FRWMF to have a minimum 100-year life.
The TAISWMP introduced a user pay component
Reduced self-haul traffic flow to facilities, which decreased vehicle exhaust and increased safety.
During construction of the waste facilities, RDKS awarded local contracts and used local suppliers when possible.
RDKS developed an Operational Contract for the Forceman and Thornhill facilities that would not prevent local contractors from competing. The tender process did not require experienced landfill and transfer station contractors. The successful bidder received training from the RDKS and shadowed experienced facility operators. This approach enabled a $1.1 million annual contract to remain in the area.
Total project cost: $17.5 million for TAISWMP and closure of Thornhill Lanfill
$3 million from Gas Tax Fund
$14 million borrowed and will be paid back over a 15 year period