Letters to the editor 

This week's letters

Page 8 of 8

Modern tipping fees must reflect the liabilities and maintenance of the facility when it is closed. This is why all the municipal dumps are now closed in the GVRD. Their legacy still remains. The GVRD now transports solid waste 300 km to Cache Creek. At Cache Creek all the above processes still take place, it just takes even longer due to the drier climate. Added to this situation is the transport factor. A 40 tonne B-train transport truck leaves Vancouver every hour, 24/7. The emissions from the truck and their consumables adds to the environmental overload. Chips for U.S. pulp and paper mills are carried by the trucks on the return trip but are subsidized. The required cleaning of the trucks of waste, once again adds to the environmental burden.

Enter modern day incineration, Waste to Energy plants (WTE). After the reduce, reuse cycle of waste, a modern incineration plant situated on a 5 hectare site will reduce waste volume better than 75 per cent, provide energy in a number of forms, produce zero water discharge, recover remaining ferrous metals and scrub 99.9 per cent of the pollutants contained in the solid waste during the combustion process. Remaining pollutants are scrubbed from the flue discharge. These remaining pollutants and their reagents amount to less than 5 per cent of the incoming refuse. This 5 per cent is stabilized to reduce leachate and disposed of in a landfill. Ultimately waste after recycling becomes a sustainable energy source and itself becomes part of the recycle process. WTE plants have a lifetime of 25-40 years, longer with retrofit. Their sites have a minimum footprint and are not contaminated at the end of their life.

I have just scratched the surface but those who take time to understand the environmental and technical aspects between the incineration and landfill will realize the merits of a modern Waste To Energy Plan. The environmental impact (effect on greenhouse gases) is six times less than landfill for the same processed solid waste tonnage.

Ken Boatwright


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