A landfill is a site for disposal of waste in or on the ground by burial. Landfilling is the most common method to dispose of waste in Alberta. Even though significant efforts are made to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much of the waste we produce there is still a need for disposal facilities.
Approximately $80M of provincial funds and many more millions of municipal funds have been used to ensure that Alberta has safe municipal landfills. Alberta began regionalizing its municipal landfill system in the 1970’s so that, instead of small municipal “dumps” throughout the countryside, regional landfills with a network of transfer stations would consolidate waste. This allowed for the cost effective development of engineered landfill sites. (excerpt from Too Good Too Waste)
Modern landfills have become sophisticated waste management facilities that are typically integrated with other activities such as organics management, and collection sites for household hazardous waste, tires, white goods and other recyclable materials.
Landfills in Alberta are classified by the waste streams they can accept. There are three classes of landfills, which are Class I, or hazardous waste landfill, Class II, or non hazardous waste landfill, and Class III, or inert waste landfill
Standards for landfills in Alberta
The Standards for Landfills outline the minimum requirements for development, operation, monitoring, closure and post-closure of Class I, Class II, and Class III landfills. The Standards are intended to provide public assurance regarding the protection of groundwater and surface water, and the appropriate management of nuisances associated with landfill development.
The Guide to the Standards for Landfills In Alberta is currently being developed to assist landfill owners, operators, engineers, and others with the siting, design, operation, monitoring, closure, and post-closure of landfills in Alberta.
Landfill Application Form
This application form outlines the content requirements under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) for Class II and Class III landfill proposals requiring either an Approval or Registration. This form should also be used to renew a previous Approval, or to amend, add, or delete terms or conditions from an existing Approval.
Alberta is the only province in Canada that regulates landfills based on the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted. Ontario and Quebec have regulations that require landfill gas collection for larger landfills based on the size of the facility.
The Alberta Landfill Gas Working Group was established in May 2007 to develop a guidance document that will assist landfills in Alberta to quantify gas emissions through modelling, as well as fulfill the requirements of both the Specified Gas Reporting Regulation and Specified Gas Emitters Regulation under the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act.
Another key objective of the guidance document was to standardize modelling parameters while taking into account site specific conditions for the province of Alberta. This landfill specified gas emission quantification guidance document will be recognized by Alberta Environment as the standardized method for landfill specified gas quantification until such time when standardized field quantification methods are approved in the future.
The Technical Guidance For The Quantification of Specified Gas Emissions from Landfills and associated excel worksheets can be found on the Climate Change website.