The PRRD board of directors traveled to the North Peace Regional Landfill on Thursday for the commissioning of a gas management system that will convert waste-generated methane into something more useful.
Landfills that have 100,000 or more tonnes of waste in place, or a waste acceptance rate of at least 10,000 tonnes per year are required to put a waste management system like this in place, as per the Ministry of Environment’s Landfill Gas Management Regulation.
The North Peace Regional Landfill was assessed as needing a system to deal with gas by 2021.
The $2.1 million project was built with partnerships with the federal and provincial government, and UBCM, with $980,000 coming from the federal Gas Tax Fund.
“We saw this as being a potential for social, environmental and economic resource, and to be able to provide a sustainable return on investment as well for the local community,” said Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman, reading a statement on behalf of MP Bob Zimmer. “I think it’s important as society moves forward and that this kind of investment is really going to become more prevalent in more communities.”
Pipes have been installed throughout the landfill to collect the methane gas and convert it to carbon dioxide. After that, they can either use it to generate power, or sell it to the gas utility, explained Jeff Rahn, the PRRD’s manager of environmental services.
“That’s the next phase, basically, we’re going through a process of balancing the flows within the system, and then trying to find the flows and characterizing the quality of the gas so that we know what we’re getting,” he said. “Then we can sit down with the gas utility, let them know what we have here, and reach an agreement of some sort.”
It is not certain how much gas the system will generate.
Its lifespan will outlast the landfill itself, said Rahn, though the amount of gas will gradually decrease over time.
As the landfill grows, the system will expand with it.