Red Deer landfill (contributed image).

Landfill gas-turned-into-energy and other innovations are shared with Red Deer city council

A presentation of city initiatives is part of budget process

Methane gas from Red Deer’s landfill will be turned into energy under an innovative program presented to Red Deer city council Tuesday.

A vacuum system is being installed to suck the green-house gas out of the landfill for capture and flaring. Once the system is running, there will be 20 times less methane — considered one of the contributors to global warming — emitted into the atmosphere, said Tim Ainscough, environmental services manager for the city.

“Our goal is to keep our environment as clean as possible and look at ways we can use the gas” to power city operations, said director of development services, Kelly Kloss.

If excess energy is created by this project, which was paid for in last year’s budget, Ainscough said it could possibly become a source of revenue, as well as savings.

So far, the wells and piping were completed and the flare will be installed this year.

This project was one of several innovations presented to council by Red Deer’s corporate services director Lisa Perkins. She noted council wanted to hear about some of the “good stuff” department are doing that doesn’t show up in budget documents.

Coun. Ken Johnston praised an in-house app created by city IT staff that allows parks workers to visually monitor from the office such things as trees and ice rinks.

The GIS (geographical information system) map allows staff to find, for example, all of the Colorado spruce in a certain neighbourhood so a rapid response launched for disease and pest control, said Perkins.

Johnston called this an “extraordinary leveraging of technology,” that could have far-reaching effects.

Among other innovations are the city’s Rip and Rec passes, sold during the summer to youths age six to 17. Perkins said more than 900 kids and teens bought the pass that offers unlimited drop-in access to recreation facilities and transit rides during July and August.

Coun. Vesna Higham said her children used the passes last summer and enjoyed many recreational opportunities. “It’s a fantastic program.”

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