Metro Vancouver’s new United Boulevard Recycling and Waste Centre has opened to the public. This full-service waste and recycling facility has a processing capacity of about 600 tonnes per day. The facility will be open 363 days a year, serving about 200,000 customers.

Morrison Hershfield was prime consultant for this large centre that sits on a 6.2-hectare brownfield site on the former Coquitlam landfill.

The new transfer station is a steel superstructure the size of nearly four hockey rinks. It features a remarkable clear span of 71.4 metres (234 ft) X 98.5 metres which provides for operational flexibility and maneuverability. The centre also includes an administration building, two scalehouses, six scales, a recycling attendant booth, and number of green infrastructure elements. The site is expandable and the entire community benefits from a waste and broader environmental perspective.

“We are already a North American leader in waste reduction and recycling with a 64-per-cent diversion rate. This new facility, serving approximately 200,000 customers per year, will make it easier and more accessible to recycle all kinds of items, and will help us reach our regional goal of an 80-per-cent recycling rate,” said Jack Froese, chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee.

The site features accessibility improvements and encourages sustainable transportation options. Users benefit from reduced wait times, separate queuing areas for large and small vehicles, easy access to the recycling and waste disposal areas, a large flexible tipping floor for increased convenience and safety and dedicated lanes for residential, commercial and service vehicles.

The United Boulevard Recycling and Waste Centre implemented numerous innovative solutions to achieve sustainable results. Engineering solutions address geotechnical, structural and environmental challenges such as differential settlement, landfill gas hazards, leachate control, and contaminated materials management.

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Highlights include:

  • Underutilized brownfield land was transformed into an asset for the community, with far-reaching environmental benefits.
  • Used 40,000 tonnes of incinerator bottom ash as structural fill to construct the ground features, including the sub-base for the new transfer station. This material would otherwise go to waste.
  • Re-used excavated material. No material excavated on the site left the site.
  • Concrete mat foundation supports the massive transfer building to eliminate potential complications related to penetrating the base of the landfill.
  • Prefabricated metal structure with flexible utility connections rests on the slab-on-grade foundation to resist twisting and cracking.
  • Landscaping design includes low maintenance native species, and several invasive species found on site were removed.
  • Sustainable, active transportation is encouraged by integrating a mixed-use walking/biking path with the site.
  • High efficiency and natural lighting. Care was taken to minimize the impact of lighting on fish habitat in the nearby Brunette River.
  • Active landfill gas management system.
  • Sealed site to control leachate.
  • Stormwater management.
  • Odour management.
  • Noise management.

The United Boulevard Recycling and Waste Centre is anticipated to help Metro Vancouver reach regional recycling goals of 80 per cent and according to Morrison Hershfield, demonstrates that large structures can be safely and reliably developed on challenging closed landfill sites using advanced structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering solutions.

Featured image: (Morrison Hershfield)


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