Landfill Lateral Expansion

The Squamish Landfill is on-track to reach capacity in late 2028 to early 2029. To ensure residents and businesses continue to have a local disposal option for waste, The District of Squamish is pursuing a lateral expansion of the Landfill to the east of the current Landfill.

The lateral expansion to the east of the Landfill aims to:

  • Ensure local disposal capacity to manage waste for the next 25+ years, maximizing environmental protection, and done in a fiscally responsible manner;
  • Upgrade the Transfer Station to provide increased waste diversion opportunities, while being flexible so that it can adapt to industry and community needs in the future;
  • Improve leachate pre-treatment, before it enters the District’s sewer system;
  • Utilize the unused, future landfill area, to temporarily support circular economy and reuse initiatives;

Solid waste in Squamish is authorized by the Squamish Lillooet Regional District’s (SLRD) Solid Waste Regional Master Plan (SWRMP), published in 2016. The SWRMP is overseen by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MOECCS).

The District of Squamish is pursuing a focused amendment to the SWRMP which will provide approval for the lateral expansion of the Squamish Landfill.

While not anticipated, if it is determined during the process that a lateral expansion is not possible, or a temporary solution is required, the District will move forward with exporting waste to a landfill outside of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. In the interest of time, the District will explore a focused amendment to the SWRMP for both the lateral expansion and the waste export option as the alternative.

View a Map of the Proposed Landfill Site.

Have your say on the Lateral Expansion at Let's Talk Squamish here

Background:

The Squamish Landfill services the residents and businesses of the District of Squamish, Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and parts of the SLRD Electoral Area D (Britannia Beach, Furry Creek, and Squamish and Paradise Valleys).

In 2017, the District invested $6.5 million, into a vertical expansion at the southern end of the Landfill. The vertical expansion included building a 10m wall, which allowed the Landfill to grow taller instead of expanding into more land. This increased the lifespan of the Landfill from 2018 until 2028/2029.

Next Steps:

Public Engagement

The District of Squamish will be engaging with the public and impacted stakeholders to provide the opportunity for residents to ask questions and provide comments. This engagement will occur from May – June 2022. Feedback collected during the engagement period will be submitted to the MOECCS alongside the application for the focused amendment in 2023.

Design

The District will work with a consultant to update the original 2019 Concept Design for the Lateral Expansion.  The key goals of the Concept Design are to:

  1. Showcase innovation and creativity, the District is looking for a flexible and leading edge design that moves beyond “just a landfill”;
  2. Ensure that the design is efficient and value driven, and integrated with our existing infrastructure that provides smooth and environmentally sound operations;
  3. Incorporate the District’s climate change and waste reduction goals, through the support of increased waste diversion, the beneficial reuse of materials and circular economy;
  4. Reduce the impact of leachate on the municipality’s sewer system.

Land 

The District of Squamish acknowledges that the land identified for the lateral expansion, is unceded land claimed by the Crown, which lies within the traditional territory of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). The District has applied for a sponsored crown grant for the parcel of land to the east of the current Squamish Landfill. It is anticipated that this application process will take up to four years to complete and stakeholders will be engaged directly by FLNRORD.

Additionally, in 2022 the District is conducting an Archaeological Impact Assessment on the land, before any works are initiated, working closely with Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and a consultant.

Project Timeline:

2021-2022: Archaeological Impact Assessment

2022: Concept Design Update & Site Development Plan

2022-2023: SLRD SWRMP Amendment

2023-2024: Detailed Design for Transfer Station Upgrades & Landfill

2024/2025: Land Acquisition from the Province

2025-2026 (dependent upon land acquisition): Construction for Transfer Station Upgrades & Landfill*

2025: Identify Temporary Uses for the Future Landfill Area

2026: Start Use of Transfer Station Upgrades

2027 to 2028 to 2029: Start filling in Expansion Area

All dates are anticipated. The timeline is subject to change as there are many factors that could impact it.

*The Landfill construction will be dependent upon the waste diversion of the community, if we are able to extend the lifespan of the current landfill, there is potential that the Landfill construction is delayed slightly.

The Landfill and the Environment

Waste Diversion:

  • At the Southern end of the Squamish Landfill site is a Transfer Station and Free Recyclable Depot.
  • This area is accessible by the public, and provides recycling opportunities for many different materials, including, wood, yard waste, mattresses, glass, metal, small appliances, electronics, drywall, books, textiles, organics, cardboard, Styrofoam, invasive species, paper and hard and soft plastics.
  • This area is heavily utilized by residents and businesses. As the community pursues its journey towards zero waste, the District views the expansion as an opportunity to increase diversion of different materials, beyond what is currently offered.

Monitoring:

  • The Landfill operates under Operational Certificate #106063, and undergoes regular environmental monitoring and operates in compliance with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s (MOECCS) Landfill Criteria. The Landfill submits Annual Monitoring and Operational reports to the MOECCS.

Landfill Gas Flaring:

  • In 2021, the District completed the installation of a landfill gas extraction and flaring system (LFG system) at the site.
  • Landfills produce landfill gas (LFG), which is a natural product of the breakdown of organic materials in a landfill – it is composed of roughly 50% carbon dioxide and 50% methane. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, some 28 to 34 times more so than carbon dioxide.
  • The LFG system uses vertical wells which are drilled into the closed (northern) portion of the Landfill and horizontal gas collectors which are laid over the active (southern) portion of the Landfill. These are connected by piping that delivers the landfill gas to the flare.
  • The purpose of flaring of the LFG is to dispose of the flammable constituents, particularly methane, safely and to control odour nuisance, health risks and adverse environmental impacts.
  • The District is in the process of assessing the quality and quantity of the LFG and potential beneficial uses (beyond flaring).

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Comments

  • Denise Jul 14, 2022, 9:14 PM (3 months ago)

    There is no perfect solution but I can get behind a landfill beside the landfill. It would be good for our community to look after our own waste. Ideally we will have a large recycling area that we can drive safely in and out of rather than what is currently provided. I would like to see more enforcement to both businesses and residents to divert appropriately.

  • AG Jun 28, 2022, 1:48 PM (3 months ago)

    I personally do not believe that a lateral or an additional vertical expansion is the solution here. A fiscally responsible solution for the long run would be an incinerator, as it would not only decrease the quantity of waste by a considerable amount, but would also provide production of both heat and power, as well as a reduction of pollution. Considering as well that using an incinerator would reduce the methane being released by the Landfill Waste, it is not an option to ignore. Money could also be spent towards additional Depot sites around Squamish, as the two in place are not nearly enough to compensate for the population looking to dispose of recyclables. More depot sites would increase recycling, decrease wait times, and overall decrease pollution as fewer cars will be idling or driving across town multiple times. If the District would like to move "beyond a landfill," I would suggest not building another landfill.

  • Laura Jun 28, 2022, 9:13 AM (3 months ago)

    I do not believe that building an adjacent landfill is the answer, it is only going to invite more new residential construction and more complaints from the residents. The property taxes already in Squamish are already unrealistic, which this landfill expansion will only increase the property taxes. I think the District of Squamish should be thinking of the environment and build an incinerator to produce energy.

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