After receiving “overwhelmingly positive” feedback in a pilot program in Walnut Grove, the Township will be installing new public space waste containers that separate dog waste, recyclables and organics from regular garbage across the entire municipality.
At their Oct. 2 meeting, councillors voted unanimously in favour of moving forward with a Township-wide roll-out, and asked staff to present them with scenarios for accomplishing this in a three-year or five-year plan.
Dog waste, it turns out, is quite a problem in the Township. According to a staff report, between 40 and 60 per cent of garbage collected from public spaces such as parks or roadsides is dog poop. And with Metro Vancouver banning pet excrement from their transfer stations, the Township has already had two loads rejected for contamination and multiple warnings.
“This neighbourhood pilot confirmed that with the new receptacles, the Township does come into compliance with the 5 per cent pet waste threshold that Metro Vancouver has,” staff member Tess Rouse told council.
“So compared to the waste audits conducted in Phase 1, the amount of dog waste in the garbage stream has actually decreased by 93 per cent because of the diversion.”
Under the new program, dog waste will instead be processed at the wastewater treatment facility with other sewage. The Township is only the second jurisdiction to implement this, after Metro Vancouver Parks introduced similar pet waste bins in 2012.
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The estimated cost to install the receptacles is $350,000 per year over five years, with annual operating costs of $245,000 per year. That includes $150,000 each year to have a private contractor remove the pet waste — which Rouse says is a very involved process.
All bags that contain dog waste, regardless if they are biodegradable or the Township supplied bags, have to be opened and the contents removed, she said.
“The reason that disposal costs are increasing by as much as they are is due to the fact that the dog waste is separated because the private contractor that we have actually has to manually cut open those bags and separate the dog waste from the bags,” Rouse said.
“The bags are discarded as garbage in the landfill and then the actual dog sewage is brought to the wastewater treatment facility.”
To help offset the costs, staff suggest implementing a levy on dog licences, outdoor sport tournaments and picnic shelter rentals.
When the roll-out does get underway, all 700 garbage cans in the Township will be replaced with multi-use receptacles, beginning first in Walnut Grove, followed by Willoughby, Willowbrook, Murrayville, Brookswood, Aldergrove, Fort Langley and Gloucester.