Bark Lake waste disposal site plans discussed at MV council

Robert Fisher
Staff Reporter

BARRY’S BAY – Tim McBride from Pinchin Ltd. spoke to Madawaska Valley council at the Feb. 21 meeting to provide an update on the Bark Lake waste disposal site and liability estimates when the site is closed.

The site has a remaining capacity of just over 87,000 cubic metres. Volume of waste deposited at the site has increased significantly since 2019. Based on average fill rates from 1993 the site has an estimated lifespan of 21 years as at the end of 2023. Looking at the fill rate from 2019, the life expectancy of the site is reduced by two thirds to seven years. The township is responsible to monitor the site via drilled monitoring wells and nearby water bodies for 25 years after it is closed.

McBride said the operating license for the site restricts both the total land area within the site that can be used and the total volume of waste deposited. In 2022 the post-closure monitoring cost was estimated at $1.545 million. The cost estimate rose to $2.105 million in 2023.

There are four other waste facilities in the township that have been closed: Barry’s Bay, Paugh Lake, Radcliffe and Wilno. Those have remaining monitoring requirements ranging from one year to 12 years. Total estimated monitoring costs for those sites is approximately $444,000.

The reason for the large increase in waste volume and commensurate reduction in lifespan is due to the other locations being closed and all waste being brought to the Bark Lake site. McBride explained that if ways could be found to divert waste from the landfill site, the lifespan could be increased. Recycling is difficult because operators of recycling operations are refusing to take certain materials. McBride used glass as an example and said there’s no market for it so it stays in the landfill site.

The township needs to continue to closely monitor activities at the Bark Lake site to get as accurate a picture as possible of the change in lifespan given how much it has dropped in recent years. A study is ongoing regarding waste expansion and future development and McBride said the study should continue. The study is evaluating possible locations for a new landfill site, expansion of the Bark Lake site or expansion and re-opening of one of the former sites. The last part of the study is to develop a waste management plan so township staff can manage the facility most efficiently and get the most use from it while minimizing environmental impacts. The consultant explained that using the site efficiently aids in closure. When a landfill site is closed, it is capped in a way that precipitation can’t percolate into the waste and cause leaching of waste materials and chemicals into the ground.

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