The Township of Minden Hills will close the Irondale landfill site in September of 2020.
The landfill has had a number of issues in recent years including non-compliance with provincial regulations and residents dumping garbage along a nearby roadway when the site is closed. It also has the lowest traffic volume of any of the township’s landfills.
“At present both Minden Hills residents and a small number of Highlands East residents use the Irondale landfill site to dispose of garbage and recycling” reads a report from public works director Travis Wilson. “Waste from Minden Hills residents is landfilled on site and waste from Highlands East residents is transferred to their waste disposal site for landfilling. The construction of the waste mound at [the] Irondale landfill is not in compliance with the governing regulation the Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) or the design and operations report.” Wilson’s report indicated the township is under direction from the Ministry of Environment to perform significant earthworks to amend these issues as soon as possible.
The report also indicates the Irondale site has the lowest traffic volume of all the township’s landfills and transfer stations.
“The average daily site traffic at [the] Irondale landfill is 17 users with the site seeing a maximum of 33 users per day” Wilson’s report reads. “Average daily traffic at other sites range from 23 to 238 users per day with maximum traffic ranging between 112 and 892 users. The maximum traffic through the site in a single week was 123 vehicles meaning that there are approximately 123 unique users to the site. Other township waste facilities have between 269 and 3969 unique site users.”
The landfill’s closure means those 123 unique users will have to travel to another Minden Hills transfer station to dispose of their waste which could result in increased driving times of 15 to 25 minutes. Wilson’s report indicated this would be a higher-than-average driving time for Minden Hills residents but was in line with driving times for other residents of Haliburton County.
“It costs 700 per cent more for us to deal with garbage at the site than Scotch Line [landfill]” Mayor Brent Devolin said during a Dec. 12 council meeting. “We need an exit strategy as expeditiously as possible.”
Wilson’s report also includes estimates for converting the site to a transfer station.
“A conversion to a transfer station will have an approximate capital cost of $137500” it reads. “Continued operation of the site will have administrative costs of approximately $2100 per year and operational expenses of approximately $36500 per year.”
That process would require the hiring of a consultant and take an estimated two years to complete.
A conversion to a transfer station was not something councillors were interested in.
Councillor Jean Neville noted that process would still entail a large expense “which I think is just ripping the Band-Aid off more slowly.”
There is a landfill site owned by Highlands East in Gooderham and Devolin and Wilson said during the meeting there have been some preliminary discussions with Highlands East representatives about the possibility of allowing some residents to access that site in an agreement similar to the one that has existed for Highlands East residents using the Irondale site.
The township will undertake a public outreach process to inform residents of what’s going on before the anticipated September closure.