Canadians touring landfill

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cedar Ridge Landfill will host visitors from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Thursday, according to spokeswomen for the tour.

Waste Management's plan for a new landfill in Thorhild County near Edmonton is under consideration by Province of Alberta officials. Land rezoning was approved nearly a year ago.

Cedar Ridge's visitors are being brought to Marshall County by the landfill company. It was reportedly selected as one destination after an Internet search found news stories on Marshall County and Vickrey Spring's pollution with leachate, liquid that seeps from garbage.

"One of our biggest concerns is where they are planning to site it ... at the headwaters of a creek flowing to a major river, the North Saskatchewan River," Betty Kolewaski, chairwoman of the Concerned Citizens of Thorhild County, said.

The Thorhild County citizens hired environmental engineer G. Fred Lee of California who, Kolewaski said, has conducted extensive research on landfill sites in the United States.

Five people are coming to the landfill just west of Lewisburg, Kolewaski said. Two are advocates of a proposal by Waste Management to place a landfill in that community. Two are against the proposal. The fifth visitor is a company representative.

Terri Douglas, spokeswoman for Cedar Ridge, confirmed the group's travel plans and offered an observation about the company's continued relations with neighbors and community leaders.

"Just as our community leaders have visited other recycling, landfill and alternate energy facilities, it is very typical for Waste Management to receive requests to tour company sites around the country," Douglas said. "These location visits are educational and guests have an opportunity to speak to specialists relating to landfills."

Kolewaski said, "It will be a whirlwind trip. We are also supposed to go and tour a Waste Management landfill site at Ste. Sophie, Quebec, Canada."

The group is: arriving at Nashville International Airport by 11 tonight; staying at a nearby hotel; visiting Cedar Ridge on Thursday; and leaving Nashville at about sunset Thursday.

Concerned Citizens of Thorhild County is "a group of residents who have banded together to fight the development of a mega landfill proposed for our small county... in rural Alberta, Canada," Kolewaski said.

Thorhild County is about 40 miles northeast of Edmonton, Kolewaski said. She was vice president of the citizens group for about 18 months and chair for nearly four months. Kolewaski is the nursing administrator for a long-term care center with Canadian veterans of World War II and the Korean War.

"Our county has about 3,500 people who don't produce a lot of garbage," she said. "This is mostly farms... mostly beef cattle, some dairy. It's not a big county. We don't have factories. We are on a major highway between Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

The landfill would be "less than a mile off the highway and...They want to bring in 500,000 to 750,000 metric tons annually to the landfill that would have a 20-25 year lifespan. At the end it will probably be 150 feet above ground level."