Quebec’s largest landfill must refuse waste

The province’s largest landfill in Lachenaie is closing its doors to certain customers for more than a month to avoid exceeding Quebec’s permitted annual tonnage capacity. Affected customers no longer know where to turn, but the Ministry of the Environment is making sure that there is still room elsewhere.

Posted at 5:00 am

Frederik Xavier Duhamel

Frederik Xavier Duhamel
The press

“Unfortunately, we are having to take the unprecedented step of temporarily ceasing disposal of your data [matières résiduelles non dangereuses]from Monday, June 27th, and until July 31st, 2022,” we read in a statement from the Enviro Connections Complex (CEC) broadcast on June 17th.

The generation of residues “is much higher than expected, partly due to the strong economic recovery,” explains the CEC in the statement.

More than 1.3 million tons of waste were buried there in 2019, making it the largest engineered landfill in the province. Located in the Lachenaie sector of Terrebonne, the CEC receives residues from Montreal, Laval and all of Montérégie, among others.


Located in the Lachenaie sector of Terrebonne, the CEC receives residues from Montreal, Laval and all of Montérégie, among others.

“Cities didn’t get that advice,” said Michel Binette, senior director of government relations and business development at Waste Connections Canada, owner of the CEC.

The closure only affects commercial customers and those with whom the location has no contractual relationship.

TTI Environnement, which collects waste from customers such as Canada Post, Place Ville Marie and federal government buildings, is one of the affected companies. Its owner, Stéphane Théolis, can’t believe it.

“We are loathed when all the landfills are already full! he exclaims. “There is a health issue, it could hamper the waste collection system. I can’t tell Place Ville Marie I’m not going to pick up their trash anymore. »

A widespread trend

The Ministry of the Environment, which issues permits for annual tonnage, sees no real problem in this.

“It is true that Lachenaie has reached the maximum foreseen in its permit a little faster than expected,” admits Martin Létourneau, the department’s Director General for Terrestrial Policy and Sustainable Development. However, “we have information that there is still room for maneuver at other locations in the region for the acceptance of residues,” he emphasizes.

However, the CEC is not alone in facing these difficulties. “It is certain that if we continue the same trend, we too will be full before the end of the year,” said Yazan Kano, regional vice president of Matrec, which operates a landfill site in Sainte-Cécile. deMilton.

I think everyone is in the same situation.

Yazan Kano, Matrec Regional Vice President

“We can confirm that we are currently achieving maximum authorized annual capacities,” said Martin Dussault, director of public affairs at Waste Management (WM) Quebec, which operates landfills in Sainte-Sophie, Drummondville and Lachute. However, he states that the company is able to honor its contracts at the moment.

A last-minute request, the ministry says

Documents received from The press indicate that an application to increase CEC tonnage this year was made as early as February 4, which the ministry denies. The latter claims to have submitted the application on January 1ah June only, just over two weeks before the temporary closure was announced. “The ministry will factually examine the application, we had additional documents last week, June 15,” Mr Létourneau said.

“The ministry has not adapted accordingly, even though this crisis has been announced for months,” denounced an industry source who was not authorized to comment publicly on the filing.

We have reached a breaking point. […] This is a province-wide crisis.

An industry source not authorized to comment publicly on the case

This source fears frustrated customers will illegally dump their waste by the side of the road.

“We are actively working with the Quebec government to meet the urgent and growing demand for waste generation that we are seeing in Quebec,” the CEC states simply in response to inquiries from The press. Mr. Binette from Waste Connections did not want to go into this question any further.

Dispose of more waste, says the industry

In its report on waste management in Quebec, released last January, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) found, based on data from 2019, that “the amounts of residues produced throughout the Quebec disposed of, have increased in recent years.

A situation that, according to the industry representatives consulted, has since worsened due to the turbulence linked to the pandemic and the subsequent economic recovery.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, engineered landfills have seen a significant increase in waste generation,” notes the Conseil des entreprises en technologies environnements du Québec (CETEQ), whose membership includes CEC, WM and Matrec, in a statement sent in response to questions from The press.

But the Environment Ministry denies these claims, claiming that “the amounts of materials eliminated have not increased in 2021 compared to 2019.”

Learn more

  • 724 kg/head
    Average amount of residues eliminated in 2019. Such an amount has not been observed since 2011.

    525 kg/inhabitant
    Average quantity for 2023 targeted by the Ministry for the Environment and Climate Protection. BAPE considers it unlikely that the target will be achieved.

    SOURCE : inventory and management of tailings, BAPE REPORT, JANUARY 2022

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