Atlas Landfill Remediation Project Receives Accolades

By Allan Benner
Welland Tribune
Saturday, October 8, 2011

It didn’t win a Brownie, but the Atlas Landfill Remediation Project developed through a partnership between the City of Welland and Walker Environmental did earn national recognition.

The project, which turned a $13-million liability into a revenue stream for the city, was selected as a finalist for a Brownie Award from the Canadian Urban Institute.

“Unfortunately we didn’t win,” said site manager Darren Fry from Walker Environmental . However, he said, the project “absolutely” has garnered a lot of attention.

Vice-mayor Pat Chiocchio, city manager Craig Stirtzinger and engineering manager Lino Ventresca attended the Canadian Urban Institute’s Brownie Awards gala dinner Tuesday evening, along with Walker Environmental ¬†representatives.

The local project was one of four finalists in the financing, risk management and partnership category.

Atlas Landfill Remediation Project Receives AccoladesThe award went to Durham Region, which built a courthouse on a former brownfield site, creating 400 construction jobs in the process. The upper-tier government funded project is the first courthouse in the province to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification.

Fry said it was, “a relatively large project with federal funding involved.”

Other finalists included a condominium development on a former brownfield site in Cambridge and a project that cleaned up lead-contaminated soil from a former shooting range in Edmonton.

“It was pretty significant to be one of the four nominees from across the country for that award,” Welland Mayor Barry Sharpe said.

If it weren’t for the project, the city would have been required to spend as much as $13 million to clean up the landfill site on the north side of Woodlawn Rd., which it inherited when Atlas Steels closed down.

Instead, by allowing Walker Environmental to continue running the site for the disposal of nonhazardous solid waste from other brownfield sites throughout Niagara and the Greater Toronto Area, the city expects to bring in about $4.5 million over the 10-year life of the facility. At that time, the cost of remediating the site will be borne by Walker Environmental .

“We had a multimillion-dollar liability and a long term environmental problem in terms of polluting the Welland River off that site that’s being cleaned up now,” Sharpe said.

Part of that cleanup included installation of a groundwater containment wall called a Waterloo barrier “that will protect the river forever” and initiatives to protect the environment.