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Western Symposium Explores The Possible End Of Landfills

Category: News Release - Date: 2010-09-10

Western symposium explores the possible end of landfills

Following the closure of a landfill in nearby Simcoe County – just weeks before its scheduled opening – The University of Western Ontario will host a symposium to dissect the reasons behind the failed project and to explore the notion that the result could lead to the eventual demise of this most common method of waste treatment.
   
The Site 41 landfill in Tiny Township was under construction last year, but a mounting campaign of citizen opposition and the very hydrological features that initially made the site attractive to engineers led to its eventual demise.

Organized jointly by Western’s Centre for Environment & Sustainability and the Elmvale Foundation, the four-day symposium is led by William Shotyk, an environmental geochemistry professor from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, who is currently serving as the W.S. Fyfe Distinguished Scientist in Residence for the Department of Earth Sciences at Western. His co-organizer is Michael Goodsite , a professor from the Department of Atmospheric Environment at the National Environmental Research Institute at the Aarhus University in Roskilde, Denmark.

“The purpose of the symposium is two-fold,” says Shotyk “First, to provide an objective and factual review of both sides of the dilemma, which was Site 41. Second, since the landfill will never be completed, what will be done with the growing volumes of waste? This is a dilemma not unique to Simcoe County but rather being experienced by municipalities across the province and indeed the world, where many landfills are approaching capacity.

“By bringing together the experts, practitioners and decision makers under one roof, we have an opportunity to identify the lessons learned from Site 41 and use these as a best practice case of waste management as we move towards a ‘zero waste’ future.”

Speakers include geologists, engineers, economists, historians, and lawyers, as well as representatives from municipal and provincial governments, industry, and the local community.

Following introductory lectures for Western graduate students by Shotyk (Monday September 13), there will be two days of panels and discussion (Tuesday, September 14 and Wednesday, September 15), followed by a visit to Site 41 by participants on Thursday, September 16.

For more information on the Site 41 Symposium or to register, please contact Holly Sanderson at esadmin@uwo.ca

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165

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