| Sep 04, 2008

Sept 4, 2008 - SF Waste Management

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Feature Article - September 4, 2008 Waste Management to be debated in South FrontenacBy Jeff Green

Of all the issues to be sorted out in South Frontenac over the next few months: finalizing the official plan, putting the Sydenham water issue to bed once and for all (which happened this week), and changing the way waste is collected, the last is the one that people throughout the township will notice most.

The reason for this is that the way garbage is collected will change: change in the way it is picked up, where we have to take it, and how much and in what way we will pay for it to be disposed of.

Waste management is also one of the last bastions of the area rating system that has been a feature of municipal life in South Frontenac since the township came into existence some 10 years ago.

As of now, the situation varies widely from district to district. In Bedford district, ratepayers deliver their garbage to several small dump sites, most of which are nearly full.

In all three other districts there is garbage and recycling pickup, and the township provides enough bag tags for two bags of garbage each week, but the similarities in service mask stark differences in what happens to the waste stream after the garbage is picked up.

Portland district is home to the largest site in the township, with a potential ability to handle Portland’s waste for another 30 years. The Loughborough dump has limited life left in it, and in Storrington the waste is transported out of the township and is dumped at a commercial site, for a fee.

Residents in Loughborough, Portland, and Storrington pay about $125 each year in waste management fees as part of their tax bill, while in Bedford the fee is $25. Residents receive 100 bag tags each year, and additional tags cost $3 each.

The Waste Management Plan that was approved by the township’s sustainability committee in draft form was presented to the public in Bedford District recently and will be the subject of meetings in the other three districts over the next two weeks (see ad on page 13). It envisions a basic change in the way waste is managed in South Frontenac. In practical terms the changes for ratepayers would be greatest in Bedford District, where curbside pickup is proposed on township roads.

The other major impact noticed by the public would be how the system is funded. Instead of annual fees, the report proposes establishing a standardized user-pay bag tag system in the township.

This proposal is outlined on page 35 of the report.

“13.1 – The Township of South Frontenac should continue to require bag tags on all garbage bags. The Township should move towards a standard bag tag that can be used by all residents.

13. – The Township should consider changes to its bag tag system with the objective to encourage more recycling and diversion. Consideration should be given to full user pay.”

The report goes on to say that the township “should determine what system best serves its long term needs and then prepare a transition plan to implement the final system.”

In terms of the backbone of the system, the report calls for sweeping changes. It recommends that all the township’s garbage be kept within the township, and that dump sites be considered as a township resource for use by the entire township.

This would mean that the garbage from Storrington district would end up in South Frontenac landfill sites instead of being exported. Some sites, particularly those that are nearing capacity, would likely be filled up first, and sites might be temporarily closed as other sites are used up. This promises to be the most controversial aspect of the report.

Under this scenario the township would be out of dumping capacity by 2024, based on current practices and dumping volumes. If the districts kept their garbage to themselves, however, Loughborough would run out of space in 2021, Bedford in 2025, and Portland in 2046, with Storrington continuing to dump outside of the township.

However, mainly through the use of increased compaction, increasing recycling and other diversion practices, the report says the township should be able to continue dumping until 2039 without having to look at establishing new sites or expanding its Salem site in Bedford or its Portland site.

Currently, South Frontenac diverts about 20% of its waste, and the goal is to increase that to 50% in the coming years through increased recycling, e-waste diversion, and establishing a collective composting program.

The complete report is available on the township’s website (township.southfrontenac.on.ca). Click on “General Info” in the menu on the left side of the page, then on “dump/landfill/recycling information”, then on “waste management plan report.”

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