The Solid Waste Facilities in Kemptown are celebrating 20 successful years in waste resource management. There are more than 50 people employed at the facilities located on Mingo Road.

The site is unique as it offers processing for garbage, recyclables and organics all at one location. The Municipality of Colchester has 368 acres of land for solid waste management and disposal. The landfill when it was originally designed was expected to last 35 years. Due to the public support for the waste diversion programs through Reduce, Reuse and Recycling – the landfill life expectancy was doubled.

The first bale of garbage was made in May 1995 and the Materials Recovery Facility opened the following year. The Colchester Balefill Facility is still the only landfill in Nova Scotia that bales their garbage for compaction. Baled garbage is dense, with each bale containing approximately one metric tonne of garbage.

Bales are stacked like building blocks in second generation engineered landfill cells. Before any piece of garbage can touch the ground, a 2.2 meter (six ½ feet) thick layer of material called the liner system is constructed into the ground. This consists of a cushion layer of special stones, a leachate collection layer, a flexible membrane (plastic) liner and a soil/geosynthetic clay layer, a leak detection layer and a grading pad to protect the environment.

Any liquids generated from the waste or that percolates from rain or snow that touches the garbage is captured. This liquid is known as leachate. It is pretreated on site and then piped to the waste water treatment plant for processing.

The original compost plant was constructed and operational in 1996. In 2015, the original compost facility was replaced as the original facility had reached the end of its usable life. The new facility consists of three large dome buildings.

Each building plays a role in the composting process as organics systematically moves through the decomposition stages. The first building is where the preprocessing begins – shredding and removal of contaminates. The largest contaminate continues to be plastic which causes operational issues. Residents are reminded that plastics and biodegradable plastics should not be placed in green carts.

With this new processing system we are able to produce higher quality compost that is available for sale year round. Compost can be purchased for $2 per bag or $35 per tonne. Each Spring, a Compost Giveaway is held for residents where they can pick up 100 kilograms of compost for free.

The Materials Recovery Facility processes all of the recyclables and creates the majority of the employment on the site with more than 30 people. The Materials Recovery Facility or MRF receives blue and clear bags of recyclables from Colchester, Truro, Stewiacke, Windsor, Pictou County and Towns of New Glasgow, Pictou, Trenton, Westville and Stellarton, Antigonish Town and County and Guysborough County, Town of Mulgrave and Saint Mary’s. Recyclables are hand sorted on two lines – one for plastics/containers and the second line for paper and textiles. Proper sorting is very important for the safety of the employees and to maintain the high quality of materials.

Colchester has always been able to move materials to market even through recessions because of the high quality of materials. This is due to the fantastic participation of our residents and businesses and our hard working staff. In 2016, we were excited to add Styrofoam™ to our blue bag for plastics and containers as well as textiles to the bag containing paper products. This is helping to save a huge amount of landfill space.

In 2016, two 50 kilowatt windmills were installed on site. There are also locations for asbestos disposal, construction and demolition disposal, and a privately operated soil bioremediation processor for contaminated soils.

The education team have sought out cutting edge tools and resources to assist our residents and businesses to put waste in the right place. Staff is always seeking to find ways to make recycling and composting as easy as possible for folks so they can access the information when and where they want it.

Colchester Waste Resource Management is active on both Facebook and Twitter – you can find us @Colchester WRM. Our website at www.colchester.ca has an interactive electronic calendar where residents can find out their collection information and sorting information specific to their own house address. They can also sign up for reminders and service alerts on both the electronic calendar and the mobile app.

This allows us to get in touch with residents the moment a change affects collection in their neighborhood due to weather related issues or road conditions. Although, there are many ways that we can reach our residents digitally, we continue to use traditional means of communication by telephone, regular mail and property visits as they still play an important role on how to reach all residents. Looking to test your sorting skills? Check out our ‘Where does it go?” sorting game on our website and app.

Come join us on October 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at our open house and discover how solid waste is managed. This is a free event featuring fun activities for the entire family. Some of the fun includes: bouncy houses, face painting, cake, barbecue, touch a truck, games and an educational video.

Two-wheel chair accessible buses will be on site for tours. This will give the public an opportunity to view areas that are normally not accessible where the compost is processed and bales are landfilled. Over 40 staff will be available on site with bright green hoodies available to answer your questions. To top it all off you can enter for prizes that have been donated by local companies.