Smells, Peels, Poop and Pop Cans. Part 3 of Waste Management, My Second Priority


My pledge: I will continue to oppose a biosolids drying plant at the Waterloo landfill. I will continue on the Waste Management Committee as we work towards future solutions for disposal of biosolids.

Or as Regional staff like to call it, Biosolids.

The Region of Waterloo is growing. People who live in Canada have freedom of movement. To try to stop someone from coming to live in this wonderful area would end up in court.

With a combined population of more than 553,000, Waterloo Region is one of the fastest-growing areas in Ontario and is expected to reach a total population of 729,000 by 2031. Region of Waterloo website.

All those people have natural functions that no one talks about in polite society. But not mentioning pee and poop doesn’t mean it does not exist.

That is why your water bill has gone up. To pay for upgrades to the wastewater and water treatment plants. This is required by the Provincial government and regulations are tight since people died a few years a go in the Walkerton tainted water scandal.  The people downstream in Brantford are very happy.

One of the by-products of the wastewater treatment plants is bio-solids. Bio-solids can be processed and used as a component in fertilizer on farmlands, as we use manure from animals. It is processed so all bacteria are destroyed. The Region wastewater treatment plants do not accept industrial waste that could contain heavy minerals.

Bio-solids are thickened into a slurry. This is what we do at present. You may have heard of the Lystek plant in Dundalk which accepts bio-solids from various municipalities and processes it to a slurry put on farm fields. The Region does not at present send bio-solids to Lystek although they would like us to, or allow them to process bio-solids in Waterloo Region. Presently Region bio-solids are put on farmlands.

Staff came forward last term with a proposal to build a plant either in Cambridge or at the Waterloo landfill to dry bio-solids to pellet form. These pellets can be used as fertilizer or burned in waste to energy plants. There were a number of public meetings.  Citizens did not want this plant near them, particularly in Waterloo where we already have the only landfill in the region. Staff backed off.

A report passed by council recommended:

Expand the investigation of biofuel opportunities in support of the Ontario Ministry of Energy report “Making Choices – Reviewing Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan” (July 2013);
b. Update the 2011 Biosolids Master Plan with consideration of synergies with outcomes from Region’s Waste Management Master Plan and other Regional Policies including opportunities beyond the Regional boundary;
c. Take no further steps to pursue the P3 application for implementation of a Biosolids Heat Drying Facility including suspension of any site selection works pending the completion of the Biosolids Master Plan update as recommended in Report E-13-104 dated September 10,2013 and approval of a preferred option for management of the biosolids by Regional Council;
d. Inform P3 Canada and the public of the proposed update of the Biosolids Master Plan; and e. Develop a work plan and schedule for the completion of the Biosolids Master Plan update and report back to Council in early 2014. 

The report was put off until the next council. With a growing population, the present slurry, even the pellets can not stop an overflow of biosolids. There  is too much for farmers’ land. We must look at alternatives to waste disposal in the next term and beyond.

Waste Management, Part 1

Waste Management, Part 2

Waste Management Part 4



One response to “Smells, Peels, Poop and Pop Cans. Part 3 of Waste Management, My Second Priority

  1. Dear Ms. Mitchell,

    As an concerned citizen and taxpayer of the Region of Waterloo (who also happens to work for Lystek, the company referred to in the above BLOG), I feel that it’s very important to both thank you and offer some factual corrections to this piece.
    The thank you is on behalf of all residents that are were (and are still) concerned about the possibility of putting a biosolids dryer plant at the Waterloo landfill. Thank you for stating categorically that you will stand beside the concerned citizens of this region (headed by three large community groups from Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge) to ensure this does not happen.
    Suffice to say that, given the challenges that already exist with odours and traffic surrounding this location, citizens of this community could not agree more that putting a biosolids dryer there would be extremely ill-advised. In addition to these very valid concerns, there are also a number of other, well documented facts about dryer technologies that should cause all citizens of the Region concern. In fact the same goes for the alternative site put forward as well at the former Cambridge landfill, and for many of the same reasons.

    Let’s look at the facts here so we can all better understand why:

    a) Odours: Heat dryesr are notorious for producing nuisance odours. For example, the Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant in Louisville, Kentucky, struggled with odour control in its heat-drying process for a decade.
    b) Costs: Based on the Regions previous calculations (which are likely understated), a heat dryer would cost the taxpayers of this region over a quarter of a BILLION dollars – between the initial capital outlay, and operating and maintenance requirements over the projected 25 years. Simply put, the taxpayers of this Region cannot afford this, especially considering that we have already committed to an LRT and it is not necessary. By comparison, the Lystek plant you refer to in Dundalk, ON was built for approximately $12 million and it can convert over three times the annual volume of biosolids currently generated in the Region into a true, federally registered (CFIA) fertilizer product
    c) Diversity of technology/capabilities – There are other, far more affordable solutions (such as that offerered by Lystek) that can also be used to optimize the operation of a wastewater treatment plant and do things such as create, green, bio–energy, all while reducing operating costs, volumes of output and GHG emissions.
    In fact, Lystek offers three, primary options for biosolids processing:
    1) Convert ‘at source’ for production of a CFIA registered fertilizer product
    2) Process at the Dundalk plant (as many other municipalities are doing)
    3) Use patented plant optimization tools to increase biogas production, and reduce volumes, costs and trucking requirements.

    The bottom line? There are much better options available to the Region and its taxpayers than putting an expensive, unwanted heat dryer at either of its landfill locations – in Waterloo or Cambridge.

    As far as Lystek goes, the company has already made an offer that clearly demonstrates that it is much more than a simple land application company and that it could save the taxpayers of this Region over $100 million dollars over the projected 25 year term. The solution offers municipalities a range of options to reduce costs and maintain fiscal and environmental responsibility and the technology is proven to be less costly, safer and healthier for residents and the environment.

    The company is also more than willing to compete in a fair and open competitive process to further demonstrate all of the above to the Region and its taxpayers.

    Thanks again Jane,

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