After delays caused by legal challenges, last year’s wildfires, a change in supplier, and extreme weather in Houston, Texas, the installation of a liner and completion of the extension at the Cache Creek landfill is finally going ahead, with work starting very soon.
“We needed to wait until winter was complete and the frost was out of the ground,” says Russ Black, president of Belkorp Environmental Services, the parent company of Wastech, which operates the landfill.
“There’s a small amount of final excavation work to do before we place the groundwater interception system below the liner.”
Black anticipates that the liner installation will start in late July or early August, and that it will take six weeks to complete the work. “Once you’re at that stage the work goes pretty quickly.”
The existing landfill reached capacity in 2016, and closed in December of that year. It had been hoped to have the landfill extension approved, and the liner installed, in 2017, but the project was delayed for several reasons, not least of them the need to find a new supplier for the liner.
“We were happy with the alternative bid for the liner,” says Black. “Our engineers are satisfied that it meets the specifications of the original supplier. The new supplier passed all the tests, but they took time.” Matters were further delayed when the new supplier’s facilities were affected by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.
“It would have been nice not to have hurricanes and floods in Houston last year, otherwise the extension would be up and running right now,” says Cache Creek mayor John Ranta. “But it is what it is. We’ve been waiting for this decision of Belkorp, and we’re very excited to know there’s a realistic potential to have the extension completed soon.”
Black says that as each phase of construction of the liner takes place it is tested for quality assurance, to make sure no damage has been done during placement of the liner’s two layers.
“We do two leak detection tests for each layer, so four in all, to test the seams. One test is done after the layer is put in place, when it is bare and being welded together. Then, when the protective layer is put in place, there’s another leak test to make sure there’s no leakage due to damage caused during construction.”
If all goes according to plan, the landfill extension will be ready to accept municipal solid waste (MSW) by September/October of 2018. Curbside MSW collected in Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Logan Lake, Clinton, Lytton, and 70 Mile will be taken directly to the landfill, but residents of the area will still have to take any personal residential waste to the transfer station operated by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District at the site, which will be remaining after the extension is up and running. From there the waste will be taken to the landfill.
Asked if the landfill has any other clients lined up, Ranta says that is still “a work in progress”. The landfill extension has the capacity to accept up to 300,000 tonnes of waste annually.
Black says that during construction there will be 10 to 20 people employed at the site through September. Once the extension is operational he says that the number of people working there will be dependent on volume. “If it’s small then there will be two to 10 people there, but once it’s at full operation [300,000 tonnes] it would employ 20 or so people.”
Ranta says that “The landfill benefits the Bonaparte Band, the Ashcroft Band, and the Villages of Ashcroft and Cache Creek because of royalty sharing, but that’s not the key thing. The re-establishment of the landfill is about stability. It provides well-paying jobs for people in the area, and provides stability for communities in our area.”
Black says that the fires in the area last year were emotional for everyone. “They had a huge impact on local businesses, including us, and were a big setback, but we’re excited for the opportunity to be back in business this year.”