TRASH TALK: Everything you need to know about the Carp Road Landfill Expansion

Carp Road Landfill

When we posted an article last month about Waste Management filing a compliance application for expanding the Carp Road landfill, our readers had quite a few questions about the facility.

We did some research and sent questions to both Waste Management and The Don’t Let Ottawa Go To Waste (DLOGTW) coalition to come with answers to many of those questions.

Where is the landfill?

The new landfill would be right next to the old one, northwest of where Carp Road crosses the Queensway.  The old landfill is the large green hill.


Is the current landfill still accepting garbage?

It’s not, but there is a transfer station being operated on the site. Garbage and recycling material is trucked in, then transferred to larger vehicles and transported elsewhere for disposal.


How big will the landfill be?

The Environmental Assessment approved for the landfill is for a facility covering 6.5-million cubic metres covering 38 hectares.  (A major league baseball field is about the size of one hectare.)


When will the landfill start accepting the material, and how long will the landfill operate?

There is no opening date set, says Ross Wallace, a spokesperson for Waste Management.   “Most of our approvals are in place currently we are working thru our ECA (Environmental Compliance Approval) with the Ministry of Environment, also discussions/agreements with the City of Ottawa regarding Host Agreement and Community Compensation Plan.”

After those are completed, there are still site plans, building permits and other approvals that every business is subject to.  It will be at least two or three years before it opens, he says.

Life expectancy for this type of facility is about 10 years.


What kind of material will go in the landfill?

According to Wallace, the landfill will accept solid non-hazardous waste, including residential, institutional, commercial and industrial waste. The site may receive additional solid non-hazardous waste (soil) that will be primarily used as landfill cover material.


Where will the garbage come from?

The waste received at the landfill will come predominantly from within the City of Ottawa and the surrounding communities, according to Wallace.  However, he says the Environmental Assessment that was approved allows for an “Ontario-wide service area”.


Will it smell?

“Landfill gas odours will be controlled through a gas collection system and waste odours will be controlled through tip face management,” says Wallace.

“All landfills smell,” says Harold Moore with the DLOGTW group.  “Past experience at the site was not good. Voluntary efforts by the company to control odours did not work. Odour was only controlled after government orders were issued and the landfill was finally closed in 2011.”

His group published a map of odour complaints from 2007 showing hundreds of reports of odours in Stittsville and surrounding areas.

It’s worth noting that there are more homes and businesses close to the landfill site now than in 2011.


On Waste Management’s web site, the facility is described as an “Environmental Centre” but opponents call it a “dump”.  What is it?

“The project is the West Carleton Environmental Centre, including disposal, diversion and energy projects,” says Wallace.

“Nowhere in the thousands of pages submitted for environmental compliance approval and re-zoning has anything but a landfill been described,” says Moore.

The City of Ottawa refers to the document as a “landfill” in most reports and meeting minutes.


Why a landfill? Why not incineration or another alternative technology?

Waste Management says that alternatives were explored for this site, decided incineration wasn’t a viable option.

Moore says that his group recommended incineration and plasma-gasification as alternatives.  He points to a waste-to-ethanol project in Edmonton as an example of a technology he believes could be used here.  (Waste Management is an investor in Enerkem, the company behind that project.)


How many trucks per day are expected to deliver garbage to the site?  What access roads will they use?

Wallace says the estimates 70 to 100 trucks per hour will service the site during operating hours.  Trucks will enter via Carp Road, which will have four lanes including two turning lanes for access to the facility.


What measures will be in place to protect surrounding land from contamination.

Wallace says that an Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) will be in place, regulated and monitored by the Ministry of the Environment.  “This program will include  groundwater monitoring, surface water monitoring, leachate monitoring, ambient air quality monitoring including dust (TSP), VOCs – 10 component including vinyl chloride, odour (reduced sulphur compounds) and total hydrocarbons (THC).”


What if there are complaints about the landfill once it opens? What is the process and who investigates?

The public can file complaints and concerns through the City of Ottawa or the Ministry of Environment.  All complaints will be directed to Waste Management’s landfill manager.

One of the conditions in the approved Environmental Assessment is that Waste Management set up a community liaison committee to “provide a forum for public concerns” and “for mitigation measures to be discussed where appropriate”.  That committee is already in place.  The conditions also call for a plan to monitor species at risk.


At this point is there anything that can be done that would stop the landfill from proceeding?

Although various City of Ottawa officials said they were opposed to the landfill, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment approved Waste Management’s application.

Moore says the cost of mounting a legal challenge is beyond the resources of the coalition.

“Our coalition is lobbying the (Ontario Minister of Environment) to put a moratorium on landfill approvals until the issue of poor IC&I  (institutional, commercial and industrial) waste diversion is addressed with an updated regulatory framework that encourages energy recovery disposal,” says Moore.

Moore says that a Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) and Community Host Agreement, still awaiting approval, could be used to mitigate the impacts of the landfill.

The City of Ottawa is pushing for several conditions to be included in the facility’s certificate of operation. These conditions include:

  • Limiting landfill source material to the City of Ottawa and Lanark County (and not province-wide).
  • The ability to stop operations on the site if there are ongoing odour issues.
  • Ensuring property value protection is in place for nearby land.
  • A review of road design to ensure it can handle increased truck traffic.
  • Development of a program to protect against ground water and surface water contamination.

But it’s unclear what, if any,  legal leverage the City has to enforce these conditions, other than if they are accepted through negotiation in the ECA and host agreement.

Aren’t all the complaints about this landfill just “NIMBY”? Nobody wants a landfill in their backyard but it has to go somewhere, doesn’t it?

“We have always advocated for waste reduction, reuse, recycling and energy recovery disposal technologies; not landfills,” says Moore.  “The future of waste disposal should not include landfills in anyone’s backyard… Some of the garbage coming to our backyard will be not ours. Sometimes NIMBY is a good thing.”


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