By Marianne Curtis
The RM of Ritchot’s municipal landfill became a hot topic during the recent municipal elections. Accusations were made that the municipality was allowing contaminated material to be disposed of at the landfill site without any discretion to material or origin.
As candidates campaigned for the election, ratepayers were told that the municipality was knowingly accepting contaminated materials at its Class One Waste Disposal Ground without any consideration of the source.
Mayor Bob Stefaniuk denies those accusations.
“Our site only takes solid waste such as construction or demolition waste and household waste,” stated Stefaniuk. “Ritchot’s landfill is a licensed facility and is closely monitored and inspected on a continuous basis by the province to ensure that it is in compliance to environmental regulations.”
According to Stefaniuk, the landfill is set up into two distinctive parts – a soil recycling area and the waste disposal grounds.
“At the soil recycling facility, soil contaminated by petroleum products is taken in and cleaned. Usually this soil comes from gas stations that are being decommissioned or having new tanks installed,” Stefaniuk explained. “At the facility, the soil is farmed or turned over until all the volatiles evaporate. The soil is then considered safe and complies to provincial environmental standards.”
Once it passes standards, the soil is then used to cover the refuse in the solid waste portion every day.
“Before the soil is allowed to be moved after it is processed, it is checked by an independent agency that certifies it meets regulatory requirements,” he added. “The soil operation is licensed by the Province of Manitoba and they regulate and monitor the operation on a regular basis.”
The RM of Ritchot’s landfill is one of three class one waste disposal grounds in the area that is operated through a private-public partnership which allows the municipality to make money on the operation instead of burdening the taxpayers with the cost of operations.
“This arrangement makes good political and good business sense that benefits everyone in the municipality,” Stefaniuk added. “This operation is envied by other municipalities in the Winnipeg Capital Region.”
Ritchot’s mayor denies allegations that the municipality does not regulate the materials brought into the municipal landfill.