Friday, March 28, 2008

Lighten up if you're going to the Timmins dump

Starting April 1, Timmins residents will be weighed every time they make a trip to the dump at Pine Street South in Deloro Township. It’s no April Fools prank.
As part of a more scientific approach to waste management, the city now has computerized weigh scales in place that will measure how much garbage is going into the landfill.
People hauling garbage to the dump will have to drive their vehicles onto the scales. The weight is then registered. On the trip out of the dump, the vehicle is weighed again to determine how much lighter it is.
Marcel Cardinal, the city’s sanitation supervisor says this ultimately helps determine how much material is going into the landfill in terms of household waste, commercial waste and industrial waste.
“These are the vital tools to run a landfill site,” Cardinal told reporters this week.
“Ultimately when you know your weights going in we can use those numbers to calculate waste diversion. It tells us how efficiently our community is recycling. It assists us in accurate reporting to government agencies. It assists us in long term planning for the landfill site. And that’s the critical one. Instead of being reactive, we want to be pro-active,” he said.
Cardinal says by knowing how much waste goes into the landfill, the city will be better able to predict the overall life of the landfill. Cardinal says it could be anywhere from 35 to 90 years.
Timmins mayor Tom Laughren agreed on the importance of having that information since the environmental rules for a new landfill in Ontario are so strict that it would cost tens of millions of dollars to create a new dump. He says everything must be done to extend the life of the existing landfill.
Laughren says it puts added importance on the role of recycling and finding ways to reduce individual garbage output.
Cardinal says he is also looking at creating an industrial compost facility at the dump, where organic material such as weeds and grass clippings can be converted into rich soil to be used in city parks and gardens.
Cardinal says all the information is available for residents on the City of Timmins website under the waste management tab. The city’s 16-page garbage disposal bylaw is there.
The document shows that tipping fees are in place for large loads of household waste and construction and demolition materials. Those bringing in large loads will be expected to pay a tipping fee. Commercial users will likely sign an invoice. Cash and Interac payments are also accepted.
In most cases, however, there is no charge for everyday household trash.
Cardinal says the exemption for household trash is 500 kilograms per visit, which he says is more than enough for weekly trash disposal.
The mayor said there would be very little change for city residents.
“Everybody goes across the scale but at the end of the day when you come out here with your two bags of garbage in your car, you’re not going to pay,” said the mayor.
The new system will create minor delays for those bringing in their trash.
Cardinal says the system is set up to create a smooth traffic flow and drivers can easily follow the signs and traffic signals when the enter and leave the landfill site.
Cardinal agreed that bringing in a load of trash on a weekend afternoon might create some traffic jams. He says bringing trash in during off-peak periods will be much easier.

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