According to a CBC News Report, the Swan Hills Treatment Centre in Alberta is slated to close in early 2026. First opened in 1987, the northern Alberta facility is the only one of its kind in Canada and one of the few in world that can handle a wide range of hazardous and special waste, including explosive and radioactive waste.
The announced closure is considered long overdue by some and a serious problem by others. The main reason for closing the facility is the high operating cost. However, the facility employs up to 120 people and has an incineration capacity of 40,000 tonnes per year. It can handle over 2,000 types of waste, including solids, liquids, and sludge. It has treated over 300,000 tonnes of hazardous waste including PCBs, dioxin/furan wastes, and ozone depleting substances.
The facility is owned by the Alberta government but has been operated and maintained under contract by SUEZ since 2011. SUEZ operates more than 40 hazardous waste facilities worldwide.
In 2020, The Province of Alberta announced the plant would shut down after 2025 due to high operating costs, and because federal legislation requires high-concentration PCBs to be out of use by the end of that year.
Clean-up of the site, post-closure is estimated to be in the range of $220 million. The Alberta Infrastructure told CBC news that the budget for clean-up is “fully funded and accounted for”