Brady Road Landfill has a new system up and running to capture and burn methane gas with the goal of reducing greenhouse gases.

The $7 million project is cost shared by the province and the city and has been in the works for 11 years.

“This facility is now recovering landfill gas and helping to reduce our nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions,” said Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

A total of 42 wells, driven 21 metres into the ground, will now collect the methane gas which is given off when organic waste decomposes.

A blower then sends the methane into a flare where it’s combusted at 871 degrees C and burned off as carbon dioxide.

Because methane is 21 times more harmful that carbon dioxide, officials say the process will help cut down on climate change.

“So this is a very sizeable reduction in Manitoba’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship.

Officials also want to use the methane for energy one day.

“Now that we’re recapturing it, that would be the obvious step,” said Katz.

"The energy could be turned into electricity. That's the most common method. It could also produce hot water that could be used to heat houses or other things," said Irvin Slike, project coordinator for the City of Winnipeg.

Previous attempts to partner with a private sector firm failed, because it’s not yet known how much gas can be captured and how long the supply will last.

"What we're hoping to do here is collect the data, understand how much gas we will produce in a year and, more importantly, how long that will last and then we're in a much better position to sit down with potential users,” said Slike.

Officials said cheap, natural gas prices also make it difficult to attract businesses.

Officials predict the system now in place at the Brady Road Landfill will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 22,000 vehicles off the road every year.

The city and province also expect odours from the landfill will be reduced too.

- with a report from Jeff Keele