The municipality received its new operational certificate for the sewage treatment plant April 12, two days after the Ministry of Environment released its latest non-compliance report, which included two citations for Whistler. One of those citations was for exceeding the permitted discharge, between April 1 and Sept. 30, 1995. Whistler’s treatment plant has repeatedly exceeded its permitted discharge over the last few years, although it has rarely discharged more than the plant was capable of processing. The problem has been the ministry refused to issue an operational certificate for what the plant was capable of processing until a long-term plan for additional upgrades to the plant was finalized. That plan was finalized last year. The ministry approved the new operational certificate in principle last month. The second citation relates to the Emerald Estates satellite treatment plant. That plant, which serves only part of Emerald Estates, is being removed this summer and those houses that used the plant will be connected to Whistler’s main sewer line. Other residences in Emerald have holding tanks or septic fields. Meanwhile, a budget of $36,000 was approved by council this week for an engineering study of what it will take to close Whistler’s landfill. The cost of actually closing the landfill is estimated to be between $650,000 and $1.5 million. Assistant municipal engineer Brian Barnett told council there have been few landfill closures in B.C., so exact costs are hard to determine. There is also a lot of water in the Whistler landfill area, so containing leachate material will be difficult. The municipality is required to submit a landfill closure plan to the Ministry of Environment by June 28 as part of the solid waste reduction program.

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