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Environmental Management

Aerial view of the Waterloo Waste Management site

The Region of Waterloo was formed in 1973 and is responsible for all waste management in the seven local area municipalities.

Based on recommendations from extensive public input sessions in the early 1980s, the Region of Waterloo's landfill strategy focuses on maximizing the life of the existing landfill located at 925 Erb St. West, Waterloo. As the Region's only active landfill, it has been expanded and upgraded. For the latestLandfill Application for Amendment, please click here.

Operations focus on ensuring environmental responsibility and continuing to reduce the amount of waste that reaches the landfill.

In 2013, a new Waste Management Master Plan was established to guide waste management strategy for the future.  



Our Environmental Management System

The Region of Waterloo's Environmental Policy was established for the Waterloo Waste Management site (located at 925 Erb Street West) and includes our commitment to continual improvement and prevention of pollution; to comply with relevant environmental legislation and regulations and to setting environmental objectives and targets.

If you have questions regarding our environmental management system, please contact our Waste Management Coordinator

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Waste Management Approvals

The Region's Waste Management site in Waterloo operates under an approval issued by the Province of Ontario. This approval covers activities, such as: 

  • landfill site
  • recycling centre
  • public drop off area (transfer station)
  • yard waste compost area
  • organic (green bin) waste transfer area
  • household hazardous waste drop-off

From time to time, our original approval has been reviewed and updated to reflect changing operations. Refer to the table below to access a copy of our approval and related amendments as well as the application for amendment submitted December 29, 2014.

Description

Dated

Certificate of Approval No. A140301January 5, 1994
Amendment for Horizontal Drilling TrialAugust 11, 2004
Amendment for Air Monitoring ProgramMarch 23, 2009
Amendment for Post-Construction Summary SE1 / 3September 29, 2009
Amendment for MRC Upgrades and Organic Transfer AreaJanuary 11, 2010
 Amendment for Landfill Base Design Features September 28, 2011

Application for Amendment for Refinement of Landfill Base Design Features and Expansion of the Landfill Gas Collection System (24 MB)

Due to its technical nature, this document is not accessible. Alternate formats of this document are available upon request. Please contact by email Terri Ormson or telephone 519-575-4400 ext. 3574 (or TTY: 519-575-4608) to request and alternate format.

December 29, 2014

The Waterloo Waste Management site has additional provincial approvals for activities related to our storm water ponds and air (landfill gas flare and Recycling Centre exhaust). Contact the Senior Environmental Engineer for more information.

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Landfill gas to green energy - Waterloo and Cambridge sites

As waste slowly decays in the landfill, especially organics such as food scraps, gas is produced. Landfill gas is made up of approximately 50 per cent methane, 50 per cent carbon dioxide and water vapour with very small amounts of nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen. Methane gas is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

To capture and use the landfill gas and prevent odour, gas collection systems   operate at both the Waterloo and Cambridge landfills. The landfill gas is collected through a network of gas wells, horizontal trenches and several kilometres of piping in the garbage at these sites.

Waterloo site: The landfill gas collection system at our Photo of gas flares at electricity plantWaterloo site was started in 1994. At that time, the gas was burned using an approved flare.

In 1998, an electricity plant was constructed in partnership with Toromont Energy. Now, the gas is pulled with mechanical blowers into the Toromont Energy plant at a rate of approximately 1,300 to 1,400 cubic feet per minute. This gas is burned as a fuel source to generate electricity.

On average, approximately 3,024,000 kilowatt-hours (2013) is produced each month. This electricity is fed into the main power supply grid where it is distributed to homes in Waterloo Region. Between 4,000 and 6,000 homes are powered by this "green" electricity!

The flare remains in place as a back-up measure. A second landfill gas flare was added in 2010 for more flaring capacity, if required.

Cambridge site: The landfill gas collection system at the Cambridge site was also established in 1994. In 1996, the Region partnered with Gerdau Ameristeel, a steel manufacturer, to use the landfill gas in their reheat furnace, to reduce their need for natural gas.

More information: For more details on the Waterloo gas-to-energy system, please see the Landfill gas to energy brochure.

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Landfill Odour Control program, history and initiatives

The Region of Waterloo is committed to minimizing the impact of the Waterloo Waste Management site on neighbouring property owners.

Landfill odour may be present from time to time as a result of site operations, Picture of trenching for gas line installationweather conditions, or construction activities.

Significant growth in the City of Waterloo over the past few years has brought commercial and residential developments closer to the landfill site than ever before. The nearest developments are only about 500 metres east of our property line.

Some of the ways the Region continually improves and invests in odour reduction include:

  • Working with the Waterloo Region Landfill Liaison Committee to cooperatively resolve operational issues as they arise. 
  • Increasing awareness of property owners of new developments near the landfill. Since 2004, the Waterloo Region Landfill Liaison Committee and landfill planning staff have introduced a clause on property deeds for new subdivisions and commercial sites in the area. This clause states:  "Due to its proximity to the Waterloo Waste Management Facility, odour levels on this property may occasionally cause concern to some individuals." This clause helps future residents and developers be aware of how close they are to the landfill, and the possible impact of it on their property. 
  • Hiring an air emissions consultant to monitor air quality at the site and in the neighbouring community about four to six times each year. As part of this monitoring, the site is checked to see if there are areas which are venting landfill gas. Any areas identified are then repaired, as required. 
  • Operating an effective Environmental Management System (EMS). Our EMS sets environmental goals for the site and monitors progress towards achieving these goals. As part of this system, communications from residents (including odour concerns as well as litter, noise, etc.) are recorded and addressed. The past 10 years of complaints are summarized in the attached table. The Region submits the communication summary to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

To provide feedback to the Region on odours or any other landfill operations, please see the section below on public involvement and the Liaison Committee.

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Public involvement - Waterloo Region Landfill Liaison Committee

The Waterloo Region Landfill Liaison Committee was formed in 1993.The goal of the Committee is to provide regular and effective communication between the Region, local residents and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on the operation of the Waterloo Landfill Site. The Committee is governed by a Terms of Reference.

The committee meets quarterly. These meetings are open to the public; residents do not need to call ahead to attend. Please refer to the schedule below. If a resident is unable to attend but would like to offer input, please contact the Senior Environmental Engineer.

The residents on the Liaison committee select and retain independent consultants to provide support on their behalf. The consultants advise on technical matters regarding landfill monitoring and operations, and are paid by the Region.

The Region submits the minutes of the Waterloo Region Landfill Liaison Committee to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

Meeting location

Waterloo Region Landfill Liaison Committee Meetings - Waterloo Landfill 925 Erb Street West, Gate 1, Administration Building, Waterloo, ON 7 p.m.

Meeting information

Please note: The following documents are not available in an accessible format. If you would like more information, please contact the Senior Environmental Engineer at 519-575-4400 ext. 8421.

2016

Meeting Dates (click on date to see a copy of the agenda)

Minutes (click on date to see a copy of the minutes)

No agenda

January 12, 2016

February 2, 2016

February 2, 2016

May 3, 2016

 

August 2, 2016

 

November 1, 2016

 

2015

 Meeting Dates (click on date to see a copy of the agenda) Minutes (click on date to see a copy of the minutes)
 February 3, 2015 February 3, 2015
NO AGENDAApril 7, 2015
 May 5, 2015 May 5, 2015
 August 4, 2015 August 4, 2015
 November 10, 2015 November 10, 2015

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