As the current landfill inches closer towards capacity, the City of Moose Jaw is planning to construct a new Solid Waste Management (SWM) Facility just north of the city.

The site selected is located in the RM of Moose Jaw, about 2.5 kilometres north of the city on two quarter sections (320 acres) of land.

The current landfill has served the community for almost 100 years and is expected to reach the end of its useful life within the next four to five years.

The city has begun the processes for conceptual design and siting for the new SWM facility and is working with the R.M. of Moose Jaw to acquire a land use approval through their discretionary use process. The zoning designation of the proposed site is Agricultural Resource District, therefore approval must be obtained from the RM Council. As part of the process, the City of Moose Jaw is reaching out to adjacent landowners and key stakeholders.

The new Solid Waste Management Facility will collect, process and store solid waste generated within the City of Moose Jaw and surrounding areas. The city has partnered with GHD Limited and Associated Engineering to carry out this project and select a site.

City Manager Maryse Carmichael commented on the decision to build a new facility rather than expand the current one, which is located at 1802 Caribou St E.

"Technology has changed tremendously," she said. "We all know that from a 100 years ago to now there is new technology and a new way to manage waste and that's what we want to do at the city. We want to change the way we do business to ensure that we are, according to the new practices, both on the environmental side and efficiency."

Director of Operations Bevan Harlton says the city spent the past 18 months looking at every quarter section of land within a five-kilometre radius of the city with an additional buffer of four kilometres.

"The site selection was based purely on technical, leaving out risks like opinion or some of the factors that, while relevant, are very difficult to quantify because the priority was selecting a safe and appropriate site," he said. "That site selection was done off of a list of technical criteria and this location satisfied all of those needs."

Carmichael noted the city has come to an agreement on the purchase of the land. The deal is currently being finalized.

"We want to communicate and tell people what this is going to look like and it's not going to be anything like we've seen before," she explained. "What this will look like will not be a big mound of garbage like we have right now. It's going to look more like a lot of our farms in southern Saskatchewan that are lined with trees around typically, the house and the building. We will have the same thing here. We'll have a hundred metre buffer zone around this new facility and it will have trees around it. Within the facility is where we will do the management of this."

The SWM Facility will include environmental compliance features such as leachate, stormwater, and landfill gas management, scale and scale house, public drop-off area for household waste and recycling, landfill, concrete and asphalt management, wood waste management, and composting.

"The vast majority of the operational concerns that people have are covered by the permit to operate that we will have to work with the Ministry of Environment to gain and then we are beholden to operate under," explained Harlton. "We're not allowed to have controlled or uncontrolled burning of any solid waste. We are not allowed to have litter. We are not allowed to have an exposed garbage face. It must be covered. It was interesting to me to learn how stringent our permit to operate will be and then on the flip side of that, it's interesting to learn how many of our concerns as residents are satisfied just through the requirements of our day-to-day operations."

Earlier this month, residents in the proposed area received letters outlining details about the project.

About 30 people attended a meeting held Tuesday morning at the RM of Moose Jaw office to voice their concerns about the proposed new facility.

Reeve Ron Brumwell says he was caught a bit off guard when learning that a deal had already been made to acquire the land.

"The city has talked to the RM over the years about relocating their waste management facility," he commented. "They had hired a consultant. We were aware of that. To find out that they'd picked this spot, we got notification around the last day or two of November, that was a phone call and we got a letter I believe last week stating in writing that they had purchased land or were in the process of purchasing land and where it was."

RM MJ MTGResidents shared their concerns about the site selected for the new landfill. Photo by Cory Knutt.

A big concern with many of the ratepayers in RM of Moose Jaw is that the area being discussed is prime farmland.

Brumwell notes a perceived lack of communication from the city has caused a lot of hardship for ratepayers.

"As far as the RM council, it would have been nice to be able to share information had we been included. There's a process that the city went through. We had hoped that they would have had better communication with our ratepayers."

Harlton noted that the lines of communication have been open throughout the process.

"We very much are in step with the RM. We've been communicating with them throughout. It's an important distinction when we say stakeholder engagement. We have a requirement to meet the RM's process. In terms of communicating to the residents of the RM, that's front and centre for us and that has started with letters to the adjacent landowners as per the RM's process."

He addressed some of the concerns that ratepayers might have.

"The future facility is set up in cells. Each cell is lined with a leachate collection system, so no water is allowed to move from each of those cells. Each independent cell is considered as its own location. It's capped every night and then the height requirement is below the adjacent trees and buffer zones. As the administrator of this facility, I won't be allowed to have garbage up into a place where it's visible and I won't be allowed to have garbage being collected by the wind and transported out to roads and I won't be allowed to leave the facility at the end of the day without that garbage being capped and covered with clay."

Several improvements to the site will need to be done including upgrading existing roads to accommodate traffic, adding a 100 metre buffer zone from the property line including vegetation or a berm, and perimeter fencing. No residence will be situated within 700 metres of the site. Lined landfill cells will be used to protect against groundwater contamination and landfill gas migration and to facilitate leachate collection. There will be additional space for future growth. 

The new landfill is expected to have enough capacity for 75 years of service.

An environmental assessment will be completed prior to the detailed design of the facility. Additional environmental approvals will be required during the detailed design phase.

The city is currently gathering feedback on the project. Neighbouring landowners are being invited to contact GHD Limited and Associated Engineering with any concerns they may have. All correspondence received or completed by January 12, 2024 will be considered in the city's discretionary use application to the RM of Moose Jaw. A public open house on the proposed Solid Waste Management Facility will be hosted by the City of Moose Jaw in early 2024.

Feedback on the proposed Solid Waste Management Facility can be emailed to A website has also been setup to accept feedback and answer some of the questions that people may have:

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