Federal grants to boost LFG collection at Calgary, Regina, and Waterloo landfills

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The federal government recently provided grants to three municipal landfills in an effort to reduce methane emissions from all three. The money for the operational improvements at the landfills come from the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Fund.

The $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF) is a part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (the Framework). The Fund supports the Framework by leveraging investments in projects that will generate clean growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help meet or exceed Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments.

City of Calgary, Alberta

The Federal Government has committed up to $5.9 million to help Calgary’s Waste & Recycling Services reduce greenhouse gas emissions by expanding its landfill gas collection systems. The East Calgary Waste Management Facility will install new wells to collect landfill gas, distribution piping for wells, and mechanical and electrical upgrades to expand the volume of landfill gas collected.

LFG, which consists of methane and carbon dioxide (with trace amounts of other gases) gas is created as landfill waste decomposes in anaerobic conditions. The city’s vertical extraction wells then collect and convert the gas to CO2 by burning it off by a flare rather than seeping out into the atmosphere.

The City of Calgary will operate between 40 to 50 methane wells, like the one pictured here, to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses coming from Calgary landfills. CRAIG GLOVER / CRAIG GLOVER/LONDON FREE PRESS/Q

Martin Ortiz, performance operations leader for waste and recycling services, said methane is around 25 times more harmful to the environment than CO2. He said the project will help reduce Calgary’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 630,000 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of the system.

“In 2017 we gathered around 40,000 tonnes of CO2 . . . at this site, which is good news for the environment,” Ortiz said.

City of Regina, Saskatchewan

The City of Regina municipal landfill is to receive $1.3 million in federal funding to pay for and expansion of its landfill gas (LFG) collection system. Greg Kuntz, Regina’s manager of environmental services, said the money will be used to drill 30 new wells into the old landfill site.

“What we are doing is extracting that methane and burning it off on a flare so it converts the methane to carbon dioxide which is much less harmful as a greenhouse gas,” Kuntz said.

The project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 per percent. The goal of the project is to remove 30,000 tonnes of methane gas, the equivalent of taking 8,000 vehicles off the road a year.

The LFG to energy system was installed at the Regina Landfill in 2017 at a cost of approximately $5 million. The City of Regina and SaskPower entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement at the time operations began. SaskPower handles the sales of electricity produced by the facility. The facility generates approximately $1 million in revenue for the City annually.

Regional of Waterloo

The federal government is investing up to $1.5 million, subject to a formal funding agreement, to help the Region of Waterloo increase gas collection efficiency at the Waterloo Landfill facility.

This investment will help expand the Region’s existing landfill gas capture system, which prevents greenhouse gases like methane from being released into the air, and instead uses them to generate renewable energy. The new project will increase gas collection efficiency, further reduce carbon pollution, and increase the generation of renewable electricity at the Waterloo Landfill facility.

Capturing of additional landfill gas will result in additional gas flows and improved quality, which helps increase renewable electricity generation in the Region of Waterloo.

The Waterloo landfill opened in 1972. It consists of 71 hectares of dedicated landfill space which has a maximum capacity of 15 million tonnes of waste. The landfill is expected to reach capacity near 2030. The Region of Waterloo has already started researching future waste management options through its Waste Master Plan process.