New northern infrastructure solutions to manage solid waste

Solid waste management in Canada’s North faces unique challenges given the geographic, climatic, transportation, and resource differences between southern and northern communities. While there are numerous guidelines available to help design and manage municipal solid waste sites in Canada, no unified standard has yet been prepared to address issues specific to the North. For instance, many northern solid waste facilities are filling up more quickly than predicted. Climate change is also bringing additional challenges. Warmer temperatures are causing permafrost to thaw and slump, threatening the structural integrity of solid waste containment systems. Changing precipitation levels will impact surface water management and leachate production, which may, in turn, affect local water systems.

A new National Standard of Canada is now available to bridge these gaps. CSA R111:21, Solid Waste Sites in Northern Communities: From Design to Closure, will help with the sustainable design, operation, and management of northern solid waste facilities, considering all phases of their lifecycles and assessing current risks with respect to service life extension. CSA Group developed the Standard with funding from the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) under the Northern Infrastructure Standardization Initiative, a part of SCC’s Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program.

The Standard is available to Canadians at no cost, in both English and French on the CSA Store.

As Canada’s climate changes, so must the standards we use to design, build, and maintain essential infrastructure. This is especially important in the North, where temperatures are warming three times faster than the global average. CSA R111:21 will help engineers and operators ensure that solid waste facilities in northern communities operate reliably and safely, today and for decades to come. SCC is proud to have funded the development of this important new National Standard of Canada.

Chantal Guay, CEO of SCC.

This standard provides practitioners with a risk-based framework for what should be considered for waste facilities in the North. While individual jurisdictions will often require more specifics, this standard provides a good first step in the siting and design of new and expanding facilities. We were lucky enough to have several key regulators from across the North on our Committee, and much of the standard comes directly from their perspectives of how things ought to be done.

J. Paul Ruffell, Chair, CSA Group Technical Subcommittee of Solid Waste Management Northern Communities

CSA Group’s NISI Standards are available at no cost in English and French on the CSA Store.

About CSA Group
CSA Group is a global organization dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. We are a leader in Standards Development and in Testing, Inspection and Certification around the world including Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia. Our mandate is to hold the future to a higher standard.

About the Standards Council of Canada
Established in 1970 as a federal Crown corporation, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is Canada’s voice on standards and accreditation on the national and international stage. SCC works closely with a vast network of partners to promote the development of effective and efficient standards that protect the health, safety and well-being of Canadians while helping businesses prosper. As Canada’s leading accreditation organization, SCC creates market confidence at home and abroad by ensuring that conformity assessment bodies meet the highest national and international standards. SCC advances Canada’s interest on the international scene as a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) by connecting thousands of people to global networks and resources, opening a world of possibilities for Canadians and businesses.

For more information, visit scc.ca


October 25, 2021