St. Paul looking into Feasibility of Organic Waste Landfill

Over the past ten years there have been numerous discussions at Council meetings as well as articles in the local media with regards to our landfill practices and initiatives which might be undertaken to divert biodegradable
(organic) waste from going to a landfill operation.

In the fall of 2016, after securing grants from Alberta Innovates, Alberta Municipal Affairs and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Fund, a competition was held and Tetra Tech Inc. was chosen to lead the project, Tetra Tech is an international company which provides consulting, engineering, program management, and construction management services that address fundamental needs for water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, and energy. Tetra Tech’s services for consulting and engineering projects include applied science, information technology, engineering, design, construction management, and operations and maintenance.

The initial study carried out included the Town of St. Paul, Evergreen Waste Commission and the Beaver River Waste Management Commission. Early in the sampling portion of the study it was noted that 40 – 50% of our waste collected was biodegradable (organic) and could be diverted from the landfill rather easily. Biodegradable waste includes any organic matter in waste which can be broken down into carbon dioxide, water, methane or simple organic molecules by micro-organisms and other living things using composting, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion or similar processes. In waste management, it also includes some inorganic materials which can be decomposed by bacteria. Such materials include gypsum and its products such as plasterboard and other simple organic sulfates which can be decomposed to yield hydrogen sulfide in anaerobic land-fill conditions.

Our community will be a model of how the Town of St. Paul is committed to good stewardship of our planet. – Glenn Andersen Mayor of St. Paul

The Government of Alberta is asking municipalities to undertake measures which will reduce the divergence of biodegradable materials to landfill sites by 80% by the year 2030. Given the fact that 40-50% of the waste collection in the Town of St. Paul is organic, Town Council allocated funds in the 2017 budget to implement curbside pickup of all organics and municipal solid waste. The program would be a cart system similar to that currently used in many Alberta communities. A green cart for organic waste along with a specific kitchen catcher and a black cart for solid waste. All the carts and containers provided to each residence for this purpose would be funded through the municipality.

Although some residents where back alleys don’t exist currently experience curbside pickup of wastes, for all residents curbside pickup and the requirement of separating organic and solid waste will be something new. A second advantage to the curbside pickup method, is that the mechanical efficiencies of the equipment has proven to lessen injuries to municipal employees performing this task.
Currently the Town of St. Paul has a compost area at the transfer station primarily for leaves, grass and tree branches. However with the implementation of a curbside pickup program we are working with Alberta Environment to make any changes required to allow food waste to be composted and thus increase the divergence of organic wastes by 40-50%.

As we move forward with this program, residents can expect a public open house and more information through the local media, which will help residents to understand their responsibilities and make changes required as seamless as possible. As with the implementation of any new program, it is anticipated that adjustments may be necessary once the program kicks-in. In the meantime, I welcome any public input into this matter.

In closing, It is my hope as your Mayor, that you all understand that by collaborating on making this program a success, our community will be a model of how the Town of St. Paul is committed to good stewardship of our planet. While the road has been long and heavy, I thank you all for your patience as we move forward in launching this program.

Glenn Andersen,
Mayor of the Town of St. Paul