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The City of Sault Ste. Marie


Solid Waste Management EA

Solid Waste Management Planning

In September of 2000 the City set out to develop a comprehensive waste management plan to guide the management of municipal solid waste over the next 25 to 40 years. The study was largely initiated to address the City's low waste diversion rate and the diminishing waste disposal capacity at the City landfill on Fifth Line.

A series of studies were undertaken to assess existing waste management programs/services and identify potential system enhancements. Some of the key reports that were produced through these planning initiatives are described below and the full text is accessible by selecting the link.

Current Waste Management System Summary Report (September, 2000) - Inventoried and summarized current (i.e. 1999) waste management programs including costs and revenues.

Alternative Waste Diversion/Collection Systems Report (June, 2001) - Identified alternative waste diversion programs and the quantities that could potentially be diverted.

Business and Implementation Plan (February, 2003) - Identified costs of the existing and proposed waste management programs and explored strategies to recover those costs (bag limits, bag fees, increased tipping and gate fees).

The City recognized the importance of focusing their initial efforts to enhance 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) through system enhancements and more equitable user fee structures.

Congratulations Sault Ste. Marie! Thanks to your response and participation, the residential waste diversion rate has increased from 9% in 1999 to 35% in recent years.

The City plans to continue to promote and explore 3Rs programs to further reduce the quantity of waste disposed. It is however recognized that some residual waste will continue to be generated for the foreseeable future that will require disposal.

Solid Waste Management Environmental Assessment (EA)

The EA process is a transparent decision-making process used to promote good environmental planning by assessing potential effects of certain activities or projects on the natural and human environment. There are a series of steps to be completed that follow a natural progression. These steps are shown in the EA Flowchart. We are currently in the 'Alternative Methods' phase of the process. The work completed to-date is summarized in the following subsections.

Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference (ToR)

In 2005 the City submitted and obtained approval of its Solid Waste Management Plan Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference (July, 2005). The purpose of the Terms of Reference is to set the scope and describe the process that will be undertaken to address the problem of diminishing disposal capacity at the existing landfill.

'Alternatives To' the Undertaking

The Environmental Assessment was initiated in 2006 and governmental, public, stakeholder and First Nation input was obtained on functionally different ways of managing municipal solid waste through the summer and fall of 2007. In the summer of 2010 the City reached an important milestone in its Environmental Assessment process. The preferred waste management alternative for the City was identified as increased 3Rs and landfilling of the residual waste.

The first steps in the Environmental Assessment process are documented in the reports below.

Solid Waste Management Environmental Assessment - Waste Quantity Projections and Existing Environment Profile - Waste quantity projections are developed for the 40 year planning period and the existing study area environment is described.

Solid Waste Management Environmental Assessment - Alternatives to the Undertaking - Identifies and evaluates functionally different ways of managing waste.

Although not included within the City's EA process, it is noteworthy that the City has committed to supply a portion of its municipal solid waste for processing in a privately owned and operated steam reformation (i.e. energy-from-waste) plant. The Elementa Group currently working to secure necessary technical approvals through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change for a planned new plant. Any waste diverted to this facility in the future will reduce the quantity of waste disposed in the City's landfill thus increasing the site life of the landfill.

Alternative Methods - Step 1 (Landfill Expansion versus Development of a New Site)

The City remains committed to investigating, implementing and supporting programs to increase waste diversion through 3Rs initiatives. Since the implementation of 3Rs initiatives does not require Environmental Assessment (EA) Act approval, the EA study is now focusing on alternative methods of landfilling residual waste. The key objective of this phase of the study is to find an environmentally suitable location and design for additional landfill capacity. This task is being undertaken using a two-step process.

The first step consisted of completing a non site-specific evaluation of developing a new landfill versus expanding an existing landfill. This step provided initial focus to the search for additional landfill capacity and was completed in the summer of 2011. Based on the results of the evaluation and input received from Government agencies, stakeholders, First Nation communities and the general public it was concluded that it is preferred to initially focus resources on developing a strategy to expand an existing landfill rather than searching for a new Greenfield site.

You are encouraged to view the Solid Waste Management Environmental Assessment - Alternative Methods - Step 1 (Landfill Expansion versus Development of a New Site) report for more information on the evaluation and the public consultation process.

Alternative Methods - Step 2 (Identification and Comparison of Expansion Options)

Step 2 of the Alternatives Methods evaluation considers options to expand the City's existing landfill site. Expansion options have been developed that make the best use of the existing site characteristics and the area available to expand. In general, the options considered include horizontal expansion (expand the extent of the disposal footprint), vertical expansion (increase the height of the disposal footprint), landfill mining (excavate existing disposed waste and cover material, recover earthen material or 'fines' and return the waste to the disposal footprint) or a combination of these methodologies.

The evaluation and response from consultation concluded the preferred site expansion alternative consists of a modest increase in the height of the waste, an expansion of the disposal footprint to the west and north and mining a portion of the existing waste to enhance groundwater quality. All mined and expansion areas will include the construction of a liner beneath the waste to collect leachate (precipitation contaminated as it filters through waste) and ultimately direct it to the City's sewage treatment plant for treatment.

Refer to the plan of the preliminary preferred expansion.

You are encouraged to view the Solid Waste Management Environmental Assessment - Alternative Methods - Step 2 (Identification and Comparison of Expansion Options) report for more information on the evaluation and the public consultation process.

Impact Assessment for the Preferred Expansion Option (ie. West and North Expansion B) and Environmental Assessment Reporting

The focus of this phase of the work plan is to prepare an Impact Assessment for the preferred expansion strategy and prepare a comprehensive Environmental Assessment (EA) Report using the previously prepared interim reports together with the reporting prepared through this phase of the project.

The specific tasks and activities to be undertaken in this phase are summarized in the Solid Waste Management Environmental Assessment - Impact Assessment and Environmental Assessment Reporting Work Plan.

Within this phase we will be identifying and assessing the potential natural and human environmental impacts of the preferred expansion strategy and planned operation and recommending suitable mitigating measures. Multiple disciplines are involved to assess the potential impacts of the expansion on site, off site, in the vicinity and along the access route. The access route was considered to be along Fifth Line from Highway 17 to the site (which is the same route used today). The mitigation strategy will document the City's commitment throughout the design, construction, operation and closure/post-closure phases of the project.

The impact assessment will include broad expertise in a number of distinct disciplines including:

  • Biology (terrestrial and aquatic)
  • Geotechnical
  • Groundwater
  • Atmospheric (acoustic and air quality)
  • Surface water
  • Socio-economic
  • Visual
  • Traffic
  • Archaeological/Cultural
  • Planned land use.
The EA Report will be prepared in a manner that addresses the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act, Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Water Resources Act. The Report will thoroughly document the data collected, analyses completed and the recommendations made as a result of this study. It will also include the results of the public and agency consultation program and influence that they had on the EA process. A monitoring program and contingency plan will also be developed to assess actual site performance relative to anticipated performance and to address unanticipated effects identified through the monitoring program.

We will be hosting a Public Open House where you will learn about the results of the impact assessment work and we will ask for your feedback. If you are interested in discussing the project, we encourage you to attend the upcoming public open house!

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Location: Civic Centre - 99 Foster Drive - Russ Ramsay Board Room
Time: 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Refreshments to be provided.
If you are unable to attend the Public Input Session there are other opportunities to provide input. Please review, through the links provided below, the most recent Project Newsletter and the February 9, 2016 open house displays. A comment sheet is also available below to provide feedback. Alternatively you can simply send the project team an email (addresses provided below). Please include "City of SSM Waste Management EA - Comments" in the subject line of your email message.

January 2016 Project Newsletter

February 9, 2016 Public Open House Displays

Comment Sheet

Comments and questions may be directed to:

Rick Talvitie, P. Eng.
Project Manager
AECOM Canada Ltd.
523 Wellington Street East
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2M4

Catherine Taddo
Land Development and Environmental Engineer
City of Sault Ste. Marie
P.O. Box 580, 99 Foster Drive
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 5N1

If you would like to receive future information and notifications via email, please forward your email address to nancy.maahs@aecom.com. Please include the title 'City of SSM Waste Disposal EA' in the subject line of your email message.
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128 Sackville Road
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6B 4T6

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