Flames at local landfill no cause for alarm

Comox Strathcona Waste Management is reminding neighbours of the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre that flames from the landfill’s flaring station are just part of regular operations and there is no need to be alarmed.

“A gas collection system and flare were installed last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre as we work on decommissioning the old landfill and transition towards a new facility,” explained James Mathers, Senior Manager of Comox Strathcona Waste Management Centre services. “The gas flare is an interim solution as we continue to explore sustainable long-term uses for landfill gas”.

Flaring has been occurring over the past year at the landfill but has not become visible until recently when trees began to lose their leaves for winter. Around this time, local fire departments began receiving calls about the flare from concerned residents. Comox Strathcona Waste Management is taking this opportunity to remind its neighbours that if they see a single flame with no large plumes of smoke, odours or any other signs of fire, they are likely observing the gas flare. 

The landfill gas flare system includes two large blowers that act as giant vacuums pulling gas from the landfill to a candlestick flare where landfill gases are then ignited in controlled conditions. Typically, landfill gas is composed of approximately 50 to 60 per cent methane and 40 per cent carbon dioxide.

“Methane is considered a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,” explained Mathers. “Flaring the landfill gas provides a reduction in emissions which has a beneficial effect on climate change.”

The public will have limited visibility of the flare from the recycling drop-off area at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre and Bevan Road. The gas flare is located between the active landfill and the Comox Valley Regional District’s biosolids composting facility.

Comox Valley Waste Management Centre project update

Work on the new engineered landfill at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre outside of Cumberland is continuing.  Excavation is now complete, including the placement of an engineered liner that acts as a barrier to prevent contaminated wastewater from entering the ground. An onsite leachate treatment plant will be constructed early 2017.

About Comox Strathcona Waste Management 

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) service is a function of the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and is responsible for two regional waste management centres that serve the Comox Valley and Campbell River, as well as a range of transfer stations and smaller waste-handling and recycling facilities for the electoral areas of the CVRD and the Strathcona Regional District. The CSWM service manages over 100,000 tonnes of waste and recycled material and oversees a number of diversion and education programs.

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Media Contact:
James Mathers
Senior Manager
Comox Strathcona Waste Management Centre services
Tel: 250-334-6025