As more emphasis is given to developing a circular economy to protect the environment, governments around the world are implementing various measures including using biosolids as a renewable energy source. The Capital Regional District (CRD) of British Columbia has envisioned a plan for sending biosolids to the Lower Mainland to use as fuel for the foreseeable future.
Based on a Parks and Environment Committee report from May 2020, the CRD has recommended that high-grade biosolids be used as a renewable energy source for cement plants in the Lower Mainland.
This ties in with the CRD’s climate emergency declaration and fulfills their environmental, social and financial obligations to be sustainable by 2023.
Currently, the treatment of the wastewater is preliminarily screened before it is released into the Strait of Juan de Fuca following the guidelines of the Capital Regional District’s Biosolids Beneficial Use Strategy Definitive Plan. New rules set forth by the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations are mandating that secondary treatment systems be implemented by December 31, 2020. It is planned that the McLoughlin Point plant will be the site for the secondary and even tertiary treatment before the effluent is discharged.
The biosolids produced at the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant courses through a 19-kilometre pipeline that ends in the Hartland Landfill where it undergoes additional processing. It will be subjected to digestion and heating until it is fully dried resulting in biosolids which are classified as Class A because it no longer has any detectable traces of pathogens.
It is expected by the CRD that it will produce around 7,000 tonnes of Class A biosolids annually beginning in 2021. They are currently in the process of requesting for proposals from the trucking industry to negotiate a deal for the transport of the dried biosolids from Hartland Landfill to storage silos located near Richmond. The biosolids they need to transport are described as granular, range in size from one to three millimetres in size and are approximately 90 percent dry.
Andy Orr, a spokesperson for the CRD, said that there are no definitive shipment details available yet beyond what is highlighted in their request for proposals because they are still awaiting finalization of service agreements. He stressed that more information should be about the plan to use biosolids as a renewable energy source in the coming months.
“We anticipate that the production of biosolids at the Residuals Treatment Facility at Hartland Landfill will begin mid-2020, once the new McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant begins operations this year. We have initiated the process to procure a hauling service now, in order to have this service in place and ready to go at that time,” Orr said.
These measures are aimed towards making biosolids a more practical renewable energy source for the community’s needs since traditional fuels have become a hazard to the environment. Biosolids have been a proven useful product in agriculture as fertilizer and as a soil amendment but its potential as industrial fuel could create a much wider market and create a more eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
If you are a municipality in Ontario and in need of a biosolids management solution, please feel free to contact us at 1 (877) 479-1388.