After careful consideration, the engineers have recommended the County of Newell as the preferred site for an energy-from-waste facility.
Located on a site near the county’s landfill and close to highways and railways, the proposed facility meets many of the required criteria set out by the Southern Alberta Energy from Waste Association.
Eleven projects were initially submitted and SAEWA vice chair Paul Ryan said all were strong contenders. One of two projects submitted by Vulcan County was a close second on the engineers recommendation list and would serve as the preferred site should agreements with County of Newell not move forward.
County of Newell, the two County of Vulcan sites, as well as Wheatland County comprised the short list before narrowing down to Newell and Vulcan #2.
“There’s a lot of things involved with deciding the preferred site, like do they have an electricity customer, is there electricity at the site, is there highway access to the site, are there roads built? The County of Newell site has the highway access, it’s already on brownfield, right next to the regional landfill,” he said.
Other criteria included proximity to railways, residential areas, airports, First Nations reserves, and parks and recreation areas. The engineers also looked at waste volume by distance.
Considerations for cost included infrastructure, whether new infrastructure would be needed or upgrades would be needed, and property ownership.
They also addressed any environmental issues such as air quality, water bodies, wetlands, sensitive areas, and species and risk.
The County of Newell proposed site showed limited to no upgrades to existing roadway, it’s publicly owned, permits and approvals will be easier to obtain as it is located on a brownfield site where there is an existing waste management facility (Newell Regional Landfill).
Of all the proposed sites, the County of Newell site is furthest from a waterbody, has the fewest number of wetlands and zero species at risk were identified within a one-kilometre radius. It is also furthest away from parks, recreation areas, and historic resources.
Moving forward, Ryan said there is a lot of work to be done.
“We’ll be going to our members to find out how much waste they can contribute, development of a more detailed business plan, and work on getting some federal support in the form of funding. We have received tremendous support from the provincial government,” he said.