Halton Region is moving forward with its plans to create an energy-from-waste (EFW) facility at the local landfill. Last week, Halton issued a request for proposals for the project to five consulting firms, which were chosen through an expression of interest process. The successful firm will work with staff on developing a business case to present to regional council in the spring. The business case will include the preliminary air quality, environmental, health, transportation and financial assessments needed to initiate public consultation and make an informed decision on the options for Halton's EFW facility. "It is critical that Halton move forward on our energy-from-waste plans. When the borders close in 2010, we must be prepared to accept Halton's industrial, commercial and institutional waste," said Regional Chairman Joyce Savoline. "By choice, this sector currently sends its waste to the U.S. The volumes account for 150,000 tonnes of waste each year, which will represent a doubling of waste going to Halton's landfill." Investigating an EFW facility is one component of the Halton Solid Waste Management Strategy, which also outlines how Halton can divert up to 60 per cent of its residential waste out of the landfill. The current diversion rate is almost 43 per cent. "While it's critical that Halton divert as much waste as possible from our landfill, achieving a 60 per cent diversion rate alone will not address the waste issues in Halton," said Savoline. "Even with a 60 per cent diversion rate, our landfill will exhaust its capacity by 2030. The investigation of creating new, clean, state-ofthe-art technologies takes time, so we have to start working on a solution to manage Halton's waste now before it's too late." Savoline noted an additional bonus would be the generation of energy, which is increasingly becoming critical given the energy crisis Ontario is facing. The Region announced its plans to investigate energy-from-waste in the summer. The primary objective of the EFW facility would be to dispose of Halton-only waste that could not be reduced, reused or recycled. For more information on Halton's waste strategy, visit www.halton.ca/efw or call (905) 825-6000. As well, residents are invited to leave comments or information requests regarding the EFW facility either by phone at the aforementioned number, ext. 7920 or e-mail at email@example.com.