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Beaver River weighs waste options

An increase in tipping fees at the Evergreen Regional Waste Management Commission has one of its members talking about finding a new landfill to dump its trash.

An increase in tipping fees at the Evergreen Regional Waste Management Commission has one of its members talking about finding a new landfill to dump its trash. The Beaver River Regional Waste Commission (BRRWC) is investigating whether hauling its garbage to the Ryley landfill, instead of Lafond, could save money.

Evergreen increased the tipping fee by $5, a little over eight per cent, from $55 to $60 per tonne, on Jan. 1. The increase covers higher operational costs as well as a new cell planned for the spring of 2012 at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.

The break-even rate for Beaver River to haul to Lafond is $57 per tonne, so at $60, the option to haul to Ryley's landfill becomes a potential alternative, said Beaver River chair and Bonnyville Town Coun. Gene Sobolewski.

“We consider Beaver River very valuable,” said Evergreen chairman Glen Ockerman, who is also a councillor for the County of St. Paul.

“We're a region. We're trying to work together.”

Members of the BRRWC include the Town and MD of Bonnyville, the City of Cold Lake, and the summer villages of Pelican Narrows and Bonnyville Beach. Garbage collected at Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Therien, Hilda Lake, Ardmore, Goodridge and La Corey transfer stations ends up at Evergreen's landfill near Lafond.

According to a letter from Dennis Bergheim, manager for Evergreen, the increase in tipping fees comes from “the need to put aside adequate reserves for cell replacement and eliminate the need to requisition members at year end. Adequate reserves will result in less borrowing, reducing future borrowing costs, effectively contributing to the sustainability of the commission.”

If Beaver River decides not to haul to the Lafond, then it is likely Evergreen would not have to build a new cell as early as 2012. However, as new cells are built, Evergreen could use air space to build upwards.

“That's where we hopefully will start getting some savings is when we start utilizing air space,” Ockerman said.

The cost of building a cell has tripled since 2005, when it cost $450,000 for a 50 by 150 metre cell. The second cell cost $800,000, and the third and fourth cost $1.5 million. Cells five and six in 2012 would depend on estimates Evergreen plans to make this spring.

“It depends on economics. If oil and the Alberta economy is up and rolling, then you happen to pay more,” said Bergheim.

Cells include a clay lining, a layer of aggregate, a synthetic lining, and include piping to drain away precipitation that gets disposed offsite. Evergreen handles around 30,000 tonnes a year.

Although Beaver River has only had preliminary discussions and has yet to negotiate a firm rate with Ryley, Sobolewski said if the commission hauls over 10,000 tonnes a year, it would likely pay $38 per tonne, with the rate holding for potentially up to 30 years, taking inflation into account. If Beaver River were to haul less than 10,000 tonnes, it would pay $40 per tonne.

Ryley landfill is around 220 km from Bonnyville and around 125 further from Bonnyville than Lafond. The increased distance could bring the estimated cost of hauling to Ryley to $58 a tonne, according to Sobolewski, which could save BRRWC commercial and municipal members $30,000.

However, the commission has not seen a transportation cost estimate from contractors to Ryley, so whether it could save money is not known.

Beaver River is required to give a year's notice before any change.