by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Council has received two presentations for potential green initiatives in Morinville at their last Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting of their four-year term on June 20. As the meeting was at COW, no decisions on steps to proceed with either program were made, however, as Council does not have the power to make decisions on legislation at COW.
WastAway, a Kentucky-based bioenergy company, presented to council at their meeting about a patented waste treatment service the company offers to turn trash into energy pellets usable in conducting electricity. On hand to present from WastAway was Patricia McConkey who also took brief questions from Council.
McConkey explained to Council that the procedure WastAway uses advanced machinery and a patented process to take raw waste and process out metal and other materials to produce Fluff, an energy-rich fuel that can be pelletized and burned to produce energy for electricity generation.
The accumulation of trash in a landfill over time produces methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. McConkey claimed that evening that WastAway’s process would not only prevent this pollution from occurring, but would also potentially replace some coal power generation, which McConkey claimed was both more carbon intensive, and released more hazardous pollutants, like sulphates.
In addition to these ecological benefits, McConkey claimed this new service would provide suitable employment to Morinvillians, with unskilled labourers at the new potential facility expected to make around $50,000 a year, and skilled employees earning potentially more than $100,000. McConkey said that evening that the project would create 25 full-time permanent positions, as well as other part-time or contract jobs in construction.
McConkey came forward to Council after some interest from Roseridge landfill’s manager Gerard Duffy interest in the process, something that Councillor Dafoe, Morinville’s member on the Roseridge Board, thought may benefit Council.
That evening, Councillor Turner questioned McConkey on if Roseridge would be able to provide enough new waste for the project to be economical. “65,000 [tonnes] is the the current rate, and 100,000 [tonnes] is what you said would be needed for it to be economically viable, here would this other waste come from?”
McConkey responded saying that Duffy, Roseridge manager has said that in talking with other communities, we could get “more than that if required” from other landfills.
Turner accepted that but noted his concern that if the landfill started taking new waste, then the project fell through, being stuck with new waste. McConkey pointed out that it might be possible for Roseridge to negotiate in their contract with other landfills contingencies to account for that possibility.
According to McConkey, Council’s options with how to proceed with utilising WastAway’s services are up to them, with greater involvement from the Town leading to a potentially larger scale project.