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End on horizon for Vancouver Landfill in Delta

The landfill opened in 1966 and is owned and operated by the City of Vancouver
A total of 126.8 hectares have now been closed, representing 73 per cent of the 173-hectare waste footprint. Delta Optimist file

It’s been steady progress on the eventual closure of the Vancouver Landfill in Delta.

According to a 2022 annual report on the landfill’s operations, released a few weeks ago by the City of Vancouver, which owns and operates the 72nd Avenue dump adjacent to Burns Bog, four hectares with an engineered cover system were closed in what’s known as Phase 4.

To date, a total of 126.8 hectares have been closed, representing 73 per cent of the 173-hectare waste footprint.

Since 2009, the Western 40 Hectares as well as Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 have progressively closed, with the exception of the four hectares on the crest of Phase 4 North, which was deferred to last year.

The closure of Phase 4 North incurred costs of $10.2 million, the report notes.

In December 2022, a request for proposals was publicly posted for the design and construction supervision of the Phase 5 closure, including Phase 5 South and Phase 5 North. The contract was awarded in March 2023.

In 1999, the City of Vancouver, which is responsible to cover the closure costs, Metro Vancouver and Delta entered into a new long-term agreement whereby the operational life was extended to 2037.

Garbage would be permitted to be piled higher on the existing footprint and in 2037 the site is to be transferred to Delta.

The landfill is currently authorized to accept up to 750,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste for disposal each year.

Materials used beneficially, such as for cover, road building and closure, are not counted towards that annual discharge limit.

In 2022, a combined total of 734,486 tonnes of waste were disposed at the landfill, of which 1,045 tonnes were out-of-region municipal solid waste.

The annual report notes that, as per the 1999 agreement, the waste capacity of the landfill was estimated at 20 million tonnes as of Oct. 1, 1997.

The remaining capacity as of Dec. 31, 2022 was 5,716,355 tonnes.

While work by Vancouver has been well underway on the site’s eventual closure, an end-use plan must also be developed that meets with Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s approval.

A consultant was retained in 2021 to assist Vancouver and Delta to develop suitable options, supported by stakeholder engagement and technical feasibility analysis as a first step.

Submitted in early 2023 were several reports detailing the technical assessment of 35 possible options for an end use, including preliminary costs.

As far as what the end of the landfill will mean for the City of Delta’s bottom line, landfill royalties will become a thing of the past.

According to the city’s most recent financial plan, Delta received $4,080,853 in landfill royalties in 2022, down from $4,137,168 the previous year.