Taking an innovative approach has captured a national award for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District – along with a sizeable quantity of gas.
The Salmon Arm Landfill project involves capping the completed portion of the landfill, capturing gas and upgrading it to provide natural gas heating for hundreds of homes. This process is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 10,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually and the sale of the carbon credits will offset the project cost over 15 years.
Darcy Mooney, CSRD deputy manager of environment and engineering, flew to Ottawa to accept the award, one of 12 projects to win a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities Award.
CSRD Chief Administrative Officer Charles Hamilton is pleased.
“He is well-deserving – he was the driving force behind this project,” says Hamilton. “He is a very effective manager, he’s creative and is very passionate about garbage; perhaps I should say solid waste management.”
CSRD solid waste co-ordinator Ben Van Nostrand says the award, which was the only one in the waste management category, showcases the landfill and the work of staff.
“I think, in part, it validates our efforts and thinking outside the box,” he says. “It also shows other regional districts that this kind of project is feasible.”
Highlights of the landfill project include:
• By September 2011, about 260 tonnes of methane had been eliminated.
• More than 10,000 carbon credits will be generated annually and sold to Pacific Carbon Trust.
• A partnership with Fortis Gas will serve over 500 homes in Salmon Arm.
• A phytoremediation system has treated roughly 1.1 million litres of leachate.
Despite the national recognition, Van Nostrand says staff won’t be resting on their laurels.
“We just received a grant of $50,000 to look at ways we can improve the solid waste system as a whole. We’re looking to see if there are further initiatives we can tackle to continue on down the road to being carbon neutral and having zero waste.”