The City of Moose Jaw’s landfill is now set to close within the next 4 years after City Council approved funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program at the city council meeting Monday night, June 27th.  

The city has been operating a Sanitary Landfill on Caribou St. East since the 1920s. 

The landfill is regulated and monitored by the Ministry of Environment.  

Every 5 years, the city is required to renew its permit to operate the landfill and with that, a Decommissioning and Reclamation Plan (D&R Plan) must be submitted to get the permit.  

“Throughout the lifecycle of the landfill, that plan shows that the municipality has due diligence and an idea of funding, a plan to keep this facility safe and understand what it will take to close it. As we get towards the end of a landfill’s lifecycle this D&R Plan becomes more relevant, more important, and effectively becomes the conceptual design for the closure of the landfill,” Bevan Harlton, the Director of Engineering Services, tells city council. 

After it was determined that the landfill’s lifecycle was coming to an end, the city engaged Printer & Associates LTD. to complete a D&R Plan, complete a feasibility assessment of alternative waste technologies, and complete and submit an investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) funding application for the landfill closure.  

The D&R Plan was completed in May of 2022 and reported that the landfill will be at capacity in 2026.  

The plan also estimated the closure cost at over $6.7 million.  

However, the opinion cost of the closure not including taxes, inflation, or unforeseen market conditions is over $7.7 million which was the number that was submitted on the ICIP application.  

The Federal Government approved giving ICIP grant funding of over $5.6 million. The other $2 million would come from the city’s Landfill Closure and Post Closure reserve.  

“I wanted to note that, that represents the capital cost to close the landfill and doesn’t include the ongoing operational costs,” says Harlton. 

The consultants also did an alternative technologies evaluation. 

“The reason we did that is that we wanted to see what opportunities there might be, if any, with the landfill. This consultant that provided us with the closure plan was also the best folks to do that... Ultimately, we found that with the existing site itself, there’s not a lot of feasibility for alternatives,” says Harlton.  

Several different alternative options were considered including compost, aeration, waste to energy, expansion, etc. but the reason why almost all of the alternatives aren’t feasible for the landfill is because of site constraints, the landfill’s lifecycle, cost, and economy of scale.  

Harlton shared that an alternative solution could be a transfer station, “A transfer station is always an option for any municipality given the city’s size and intent. With the requirements of landfills, I wouldn’t recommend a transfer station because ultimately the waste will have to go somewhere.” 

Councilor Crystal Froese shared that this is an opportunity for the city to look at waste differently and more responsibly.  

“It’s really essential and I think that moving forward we have to look at our landfill a little more different than the way we’ve treated the current one that we have which is more of the old-fashioned dump style. We have to be much more responsible in the way that we approach waste,” she says.  

Froese moved the motion to approve and confirm the ICIP funding and the motion was passed with all of the councilors in favor.