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.