Waste transfer station underway in Thornhill, B.C.

Project is part of a wholesale shift in how waste will be handled in northwestern B.C.

THE NEW way waste is to be handled in the region continues to take shape with the start of work to convert the Kitimat-Stikine regional district’s Thornhill dump into a transfer station.

When finished, the transfer station will be used to sort waste from recycling and from there it will be sent elsewhere, with garbage being trucked to the new Forceman Ridge landfill which itself is under construction off of Hwy37 South on the way to Kitimat.

Because of the work going on at the Thornhill dump, the regional district is banning, at least for now, a list of items.

The items are scrap metal, tires, large appliances (although fridges and freezers will still be accepted) and lead acid (vehicle) batteries, says Margaret Kujat, the regional district’s environmental services coordinator.

“Those are the main ones that take up a lot of real estate at the site and we need that (space) for our guests as well as construction equipment moving around,” said Kujat last week.

“It’s not intended to be a negative. It’s more of a positive to get folks to understand they have options they haven’t really thought about or were aware of.”

“Tires for example have at least 10 places to take them,” Kujat said, adding that in future, these items may be reintroduced as being accepted when the transfer station is finished and in operation.

The reason for not accepting these items anymore is for safety of residents bringing in their residential waste because these newly restricted items build up in the landfill quickly and get in the way, and space is limited with the transfer station construction going on, she said.

The goal is to keep the landfill safe without sacrificing service, she added.

The work at the Thornhill dump began last month.

It involves preparing a landfill cap of clay that will be place over the existing dump footprint.

It’s meant to reduce leachate liquids by keeping rain and other precipitation from soaking into the landfill’s material.

A leachate collection system will also be installed as will a system to collect landfill gas.

There is also a plan to collect leachate from existing waste and treat it in a pond and through a subsurface wetland.

Cattails will be placed as well to treat water before it leaves the site.

The regional district’s master plan, in which the City of Terrace is a participant, in addition to the Thornhill dump conversion and the construction of the Forceman Ridge facility, will also see the closure of the city’s own dump located north on Hwy 113/Kalum Lake Drive.

There will not be any public access to Forceman Ridge and that move, along with the closure of the city dump, means the Thornhill transfer station will be the only place for residents to take waste.

Other items may be excluded from the Thornhill site as work continues there but no dates have been set, said Kujat.

People are already being discouraged from taking E-waste, which is computers and other electronics, and beverage containers to the Thornhill location because there are already other places which will accept them, she added.

Fridges and freezers, although they are large items, are still be ing accepted because they contain freon and dealing with that is a bit more arduous for the average homeowner to deal with, said Kujat.