A new landfill gas flare system is expected to begin operating this month at the Cumberland dump, part of the first phase of the Comox Valley landfill closure project.
“It’s a partial closure of the landfill, which also incorporates the landfill gas collection system that we are completing by the end of this month, and commissioning this system to start extracting the gas from the current landfill,” said James Mathers, senior manager of solid waste services at the Comox Valley Regional District. “That represents about 65 to 70 per cent of the closure of the existing landfill.
“Looks like we have until September of 2017 to continue to use that landfill. By then we need to construct the new engineered landfill for future use of waste disposal.”
The gas flare system includes two large blowers that act as vacuums, pulling gas away from the landfill to a candlestick flare, where gases are ignited in controlled conditions.
“We have two blowers at the control plant where the candlestick, or flare station, is located,” Mathers said. “By doing that we manage to extract all that gas from all the different wells.”
About 18 vertical and two horizontal wells have been installed, though the latter two are not yet operating.
The second phase of the closure might require additional wells, and the final cover of the remaining landfill.
Officials with the Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) service are reviewing details with neighbours, including regional districts in Nanaimo and Victoria, with regards to the technology they have used to generate electricity. By year’s end, officials should have a clear indication of which option they wish to pursue.
“But of course that all depends on the board’s feedback too,” Mathers said.
According to the region’s solid waste management plan, the CSWM service is required to close the landfill in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent air and groundwater impacts.
The cost to close the Cumberland dump is estimated at $10,620,000. Replacing it with a state-of-the-art engineered site is projected at $21,550,000.
“These numbers were projected a while ago,” Mathers said. “Prices in some cases could have dropped because oil prices have dropped.”
The public will have limited visibility of the flare from the recycling drop-off area at the Comox Valley waste management centre and from Bevan Road. The gas flare is located between the landfill and the biosolids composting facility.
For more information visit www.cswm.ca/plan