GFL Environment construction smell rectified

GFL Environmental representative, Don Francis, Director – Organic Solutions – Solid Waste for Western Canada gave an update on the development of the fertilizer blending facility along Highway 9 and the remediation efforts regarding the site’s recent odour issue.

Council, who held their regular meeting online, welcomed him virtually on Tues. Sept. 14.

The Town of Hanna administration informed GFL representatives on numerous occasions that this odour is not acceptable and as part of the process leading to development of the site the town was promised on numerous occasions that there would be no odour issues.

In the approval phase, staff and some councillors were shown the compost to be used which they found had little to no smell which led to the decision to allow this project in the first place.

After some complaints were lodged by residents near the construction site including businesses on the highway, it was found GFL was using compost containing chicken manure for the top dressing layer of clay during the construction phase.

They have replaced it with the compost that will be used in later production, free of chicken manure.

The company has been trying different methods to remediate the smell of the organic material brought in with relatively no success with the latest remedy to haul the material off site which was to start on Sept. 13 and finished by Sept. 17.

“We haven’t had issues in the past so we were somewhat mystified that there was this ammonia-ee type of odour emanating from this material,” said Francis.

“We were disappointed that this transpired. It’s unacceptable in any order especially during the construction phase and frankly [we are] a little embarrassed by it to let it continue.”

He added that the material shown to town administration and some councillors will be used instead for this final layer while the other material is dealt with off-site.

Francis made it clear there are no animal by-products found in the material after being questioned by Coun. Sandra Beaudoin, noting in the compost business animal byproduct is another term for carcasses which they do accept at any of their sites.

Beaudoin was concerned with dust maintenance as well to help the business across the road, prompting the company to have a ‘proactive creative’ response.

Francis shared they are recording and monitoring activities of the site and are taking more measures to control the dust kicking up from the construction phase.

Administration shared their thanks for the quick response from GFL representatives regarding this situation.

Development of the site has been ongoing this summer with no other issues.

Once the production phase begins and the ribbon is cut, an estimated 12-15 people will be there full time which the company is highly keen on accepting locals as long as they have the right qualifications.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.