* Meditation 101 techniques (experiential weekends recommended: https://victoriaims.org/)
* Psychological growth and self-understanding
* Techniques to navigate one's own Window of Tolerance (https://www.mindmypeelings.com/blog/window-of-tolerance)
Instead, it's the cue for a look at the tricky, controversial, long-running subject of biosolid management in the Capital Region. Another related CRD public survey is now live. And CRD Board Chair Colin Plant called a special meeting this week to discuss the survey itself, which several non-profits have loudly claimed is biased. (Update: The Board is satisfied with the survey and the process that led to it, but its companion FAQ page will be updated to better address risks.)
The survey is the next micro-step in a multi-decade process that has generated exhaustive debate, numerous studies, and a variety of proposed short-and-longer term ways to meet provincial requirements and, yes, deal with our own s**t ... or, rather, the spun-dry, pelletized Class A biosolids that, in many parts of the world, are applied as nutrient-rich additives to parks, forests and farmlands. (But not here since 2011.)
Five years ago, the Province asked the CRD to develop a "Definitive (Long-Term) Biosolids Management Plan." The deadline for doing so is June 30, and hence there's an urgency now for staff to collate all its board-approved work to date and finalize a plan to be introduced at the Environmental Services Committee meeting in April and to the Board in May.
Start with this CRD summary of its patient, persistent development of a legislated "biosolids beneficial use strategy" ~ https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/biosolids-beneficial-use-strategy.
Current Survey: https://getinvolved.crd.bc.ca/biosolids (options presented neatly/simply/effectively on the home page)
Related FAQ: https://getinvolved.crd.bc.ca/biosolids/widgets/170487/faqs#34017
As you'll learn, in 2011 the CRD Board ended regional land application of biosolids from the Saanich Peninsula and Sooke wastewater treatment plants while also anticipating the dramatic uptake in volume flowing from Victoria's new treatment plant. The Board acted on calls from citizens and non-profits to heed the precautionary principle and recognize that the trace "forever chemicals" (PFAS, or per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances) we absorb and excrete from numerous sources (including textiles, cosmetics, food packaging and food itself) will recycle back into the environment. [How harmfully remains the question ~ https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2023/05/government-of-canada-taking-next-step-in-addressing-forever-chemicals-pfas.html]
Minister Heyman stated, in 2019, that while respecting the CRD Board's authority, "it is the ministry's position that the land application of biosolids, in accordance with the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR), will benefit the environment and potentially reduce costs to the taxpayer."
In the '00s, CRD staff identified two lead options: i) Shipping biosolids to cement plants outside the region for use as an energy source in firing their kilns; and ii) Developing "waste-to-energy" thermal processing that would transform biosolids into BFM (Biofuel Methane) and feed it into the grid.
Continuing problems with the first approach and the long-term prospects for the latter are documented in the CRD link above. Staff and consultants have subsequently identified further options (clipped from that same link):
"The following non-agricultural land application options located on Vancouver Island are under consideration:
- Silviculture: forest fertilization through standard land application at a site under an existing land application plan near Nanaimo, BC, that is already accepting municipal biosolids.
- Mine Reclamation: generation of a blended growing medium used for reclamation of a gravel pit site near Nanaimo, BC, under a new land application plan.
- Land Reclamation: fabrication of biosolids growing media to address topsoil nutrient deficiencies, and aid in reclamation of disturbed areas at a forestry site near Nanaimo, BC.
- Incineration of biosolids as an alternative to fossil fuels.
- Pyrolysis or Gasification Technology to Create Biochar/Gas.
- Fertilizer: bagged fertilizer for residential use, fertilizer for agriculture, wholesale fertilizer for landscaping.
Interestingly, the Nanaimo Regional District board pointedly asked (May 2023) why the CRD can't come up with its own local solution while not ruling out receipt of CRD biosolids. The lengthly debates at the CRD board and committee levels continued thereafter, leading to this latest public survey now open until March.
Get up to speed, as I ever struggle to do with this complicated topic, by reading the Jan. 31 agenda contents here ~ https://www.crd.bc.ca/docs/default-source/crd-document-library/committeedocuments/capitalregionaldistrictboard/20240131/2024-01-31agendacoverrb.pdf?sfvrsn=fb6bc9ce_3
Staff Report: Long-Term Biosolids Mgt Planning- Engagement/Consult
Appendix A: Letter from Environment Minister Heyman - Oct 29, 2019
Appendix B: CRD Public Participation Framework (guiding all CRD public engagements)
Appendix C: CRD Staff Long-Term Biosolids Management Engagement Plan (how & who the new survey targets)
Appendix D: Request for Estimate - Biosolids Consultation Services - Tavola (survey contractor)
Appendix E: GHD Long-Term Biosolids Beneficial Use Option Analysis (July 2023 assessment of CRD strategy)
Appendix F: Presentation from Tavola - Oct 2023
Appendix G: Get Involved - Biosolids Engagement Website Content & Survey
(also see Times Colonist clips below)
* Pre-2011: Biosolids from Saanich Peninsula and Sooke were applied in forests and CRD parkland. Pilot project alternatives were investigated, including as farmland cover in Qualicum, shipment to a compost facility in Duncan, and disposal at a "Colwood gravel pit" (Royal Bay, I assume). A home-use biosolids program (2006-2009) involved 1,000 household subscribers ... yet this "bagged fertilizer" program represented just 5% of tonnage produced on the peninsula. https://www.crd.bc.ca/docs/default-source/crd-document-library/committeedocuments/saanichpeninsulawastewatercommission/20120216/item-8---biosolids-management-program---annual-updateR.pdf
* July 13, 2011: After much debate, the CRD Board voted to ban the land application of biosolids within the CRD and seek alternative solutions.
~ Be it so moved that the CRD will harmonize current and long‐term practices at all CRD‐owned regional facilities and parks with the approved policies of the regional treatment strategy, including ending the production, storage, and distribution of biosolids for land application at all CRD facilities and parks; and
~ Be it further moved that the CRD does not support the application of biosolids on farmland in the CRD under any circumstances, and let this policy be reflected in the upcoming Regional Sustainability Strategy.”
- Sept. 2012: An Expression of Interest from the Saanich Peninsula Wastewater Commission seeking biosolid disposal options produced six responses, all from companies offering land-based disposal, and all summarily dismissed as contrary to CRD policy.
* 2017: CRD Beneficial Reuse of Biosolids Jurisdictional Review: Down To Earth Biology (EDI Environmental Dynamics study of 15 local governments in North America with established biosolids programs.) https://www.crd.bc.ca/docs/default-source/irm-reports/consolidationreportnov17/appendixq.pdf
* 2019: The BC Ministry of Environment gives the CRD five years to develop a long-term biosolids strategy to be implemented by Jan. 2025. Wrote Minister Heyman: "Options considered should include a range of beneficial uses including, but not limited to, forestry (for example, fertilizer/soil conditioner), reclamation (for example, mines), landfill closure and agriculture ... The CRD's policy banning the land application of biosolids unnecessarily limits the options available for beneficial use. While respecting the Board's authority to create such a policy, it is the ministry's position that the land application of biosolids, in accordance with the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR), will benefit the environment and potentially reduce costs to the taxpayer."
* 2019-22: The CRD continues seeking solutions via the Biosolids Beneficial Use Strategy (Definitive Plan), released in March, 2019. One promising approach was to ship pelletized waste to the Lafarge cement plant on the Lower Mainland as an alternative fuel source. After some early success, this approach has stalled, for now at least, for a variety of economic and operational reasons. (see Lafarge Cement options for biosolids and thermal waste). In a resulting short-term measure, a small portion of the Hartland Landfill was opened to biosolid application but it too generated public pushback and, besides which, has rapidly reached capacity. June 16, 2021: CRD Environmental Services Committee votes to end land application at Hartland.
* Dec. 2020: McLoughlin Point Treatment Plant opens. (Times Colonist's The Road To Treatment: A Timeline.)
* 2023: In February, the CRD Board votes to "amend its policy to allow non-agricultural land application of biosolids as a short-term contingency alternative," thus allowing potential shipments of our biosolids to other regions; in July, the Board clarified that this motion specifically ruled out "in-region land application." See also: Options for Biosolids (April, 2023) + Monthly statistics
Pro: Land-Based Application
* "For generations, biosolids have been safely used around the world by farmers, landscapers and foresters. More recently in other countries, biosolids have been used in thermal [heating] processes to generate renewable energy sources" (CRD 2023 FAQ)
* Land Application of Wastewater Biosolids: Concise Literature Review of Issues for CRD (Stantec, 2011) which concluded "there is no scientific evidence indicating that the risks of environmental damage or public health concerns for either Class A or B bio-solids land application would be high." https://www.crd.bc.ca/docs/default-source/crd-document-library/committeedocuments/corearealiquidwastemanagementcommittee/20110427/2011-may-25-item-04(b)-report-presented-to-esc-and-spwwc-re-land-application-of-class-a-biosolids---literature-reviewR.pdf?sfvrsn=0
* Biosolids Risk Assessment and Literature Review Update (Golder, 2014)
* Organizations that have endorsed spreading biosolids on land include the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the European Commission on the Environment.
Con: Land-Based Application
* The Dogwood Initiative, the Sierra Club of B.C., the Island Organic Producers Association, the Island Chef’s Collaborative, the Farmlands Trust, and local First Nation bands advocated for the 2011 ban.
* The Mount Work Coalition outlines its primary concerns here and in its 2020 Five Reasons infographic, i.e.,
- Contamination of Drinking Water
- Local Food Supply Contamination
- Loss of Business
- Contamination of Fish and Wildlife
- Health Risks at Popular Recreation Sites
* New Approach Needed to Our Broken CRD Biosolids Plan - Dec. 2, 2021 Times Colonist editorial by Coalition VP Hugh Stevens
* Raincoast Conservation Foundation: "Biosolids Pose A Threat to Healthy Waters" (Oct. 2023) https://www.raincoast.org/2023/10/biosolids-pose-threat-healthy-waters
Option 1: Implement high-resolution contaminant monitoring in biosolids destined for land application
Option 2: Clean up biosolids through source control initiatives and local regulations
Option 3: Inform federal policies and regulations
Option 4: Focus on energy capture from biosolids
* In 2016, four Canadian scientists affiliated with the David Suzuki Foundation, the University of British Columbia and the Precautionary Group penned an "open letter on the dangers of biosolids." In it, they stated that "the science doesn't support the disposal of sewage sludge across the landscape. The supposed benefits are more than offset by the risks to human and environmental health." <clip> "An unimaginably large number of chemical and biological contaminants exist in these materials, and they persist in the product up to, and after, land disposal. Scientific investigations have identified only a tiny fraction of the total contaminant load. We cannot even say with any degree of confidence what the true range of contaminant risk is from the sludge." [Four other scientists provided a counter-point here: Canadian Researchers Respond to Biosolids "Hysteria" (Water Canada, August, 2016)]
* Peninsula Biosolids Coalition ~ "The Peninsula Biosolids Coalition says the tonnes of biosolids that are being dumped at the landfill run a risk of harming the local environment, with the Hartland area being used for recreation – such as mountain biking – and bordering residential areas. The group is also concerned that potential contaminants could escape the landfill and make their way into nearby waterways, such as the Tod Creek Watershed."
Latest CRD report: Long-Term Biosolids Beneficial Use Analysis
(GHD Consultants, July 2023)
"There is no option currently available that meets the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment criteria for beneficial use, meets Organic Matter Recycling Regulation criteria and meets the CRD Board restriction on land application other than Lafarge and Biogas Methane (BGM).
Non-land application options could be developed in 24-months or greater that could partially meet the CCME criteria for beneficial use and CRD Board restriction on land application are presented below:
- Off-Site Thermal Options – Thermal options in addition to Lafarge are possible in 24-months or greater working with existing facilities such as Envirogreen in Princeton, Lehigh Cement Plant (nearest in Bamberton), or the Metro Vancouver Waste to Energy Facility in Burnaby. Changes to ENV permits/approvals, consultation with stakeholders may be needed and biosolids receiving, handling and dust mitigation procedures and potentially equipment would need to be developed. The off-Site thermal options do not beneficially use the ash from the biosolids, and as such may not meet CCME guidelines
- On-Site Thermal Options – A pilot pyrolysis or gasification facility could be established at Hartland. This would require construction of the pilot facility, and an approval from ENV to operate the facility, which would require 24-months or greater to develop. During the pilot stage the syngas would be flared, and the pilot would be used to characterize the quantity and quality of the syngas to provide information towards the long- term beneficial use (e.g., as a fuel). The quality of the biochar produced would be evaluated and ultimately marketed as a biochar product if feasible. Fulsome GHG implications would also be determined. (RFP issued in June with deadline of July 14, 2023)
- Land application options exist that meet CCME criteria and are used by other jurisdictions in many cases to cost effectively manage biosolids. If the CRD Board limitation on the land application of biosolids was beyond contingency use at the land fill and for non-agricultural land application, then these options could likely be implemented within 1 to 2-years, with some options being available immediately, and without additional infrastructure."
Miscellaneous and Related
- CRD Seeks Proposals for Demo Plants to Show What Can Be Done With Biosolids (Times Colonist, June 22, 2023)
- CRD Won't Spread Biosolids Locally But Could Still Ship Them to Nanaimo Area (Black Press, June 21, 2023)
- Biosolids Dumped At Hartland Cause Controversy (CTV, March 17, 2023)
- Greater Victoria Biosolids to be Shipped to Nanaimo for Use as Tree Fertilizer (Times Colonist, Feb. 23, 2023)
- Sewage Plant Biosolids Fail to Meet Standard, Go Into Landfill Instead (Times Colonist, June 16, 2021)
- CRD Ban Could Be Eased to Allow Use of Sewage Biosolids As Fertilizer (Times Colonist, Jan. 14, 2020)
- CRD Flip-Flop On Biosolids (Judith Lavoie, Focus Magazine, Nov. 24, 2020)
Literature Review of Risks (2016)
Last August, Director Desjardins suggested UVic students might prepare a review of the existing scientific literature on the risks from land-based and other uses of biosolids. She shelved the proposal upon learning that the Province is conducting just such a study, but it is behind schedule and not available yet. In 2016, the Ministry of the Environment commissioned a study by LRCS Land Resource Consulting Services focused on the Nicola Valley but also valid elsewhere.
"In our review we have focused on the risks such as the issue of emerging substances of concern (ESOC). Further we have highlighted best practices in treatment and land application guidelines to further reduce the risks associated with the land application of biosolids ... Appropriate management for human sewage is not finding some deep, dark hole where we can “dispose” of this material “out of sight, out of mind” but rather safely harvesting the energy and returning the nutrients contained in this resource to the ecosystem. The issue is not whether the nutrients contained in human sewage should be returned to land, but how and where it can be done safely and sustainably."
A History of Human Waste as Fertilizer - JSTOR Daily (November, 2019) "In 18th century Japan, biosolids were an esteemed substance (aka "night soil"). Japanese citizens did not view human waste as unwanted muck, but rather as something of value." https://daily.jstor.org/a-history-of-human-waste-as-fertilizer/
Biosolid Classes A&B and Beneficial Uses
Like provinces across Canada, BC has determined that "Class A Biosolids" have "beneficial" upsides.
Class A biosolids contain no detectable levels of pathogens.
At Hartland, "micro-organisms will digest the organic material in the sludge, turning it into what is known as Class-A biosolids, a soil supplement."
"The biosolids from Hartland's Residual Treatment Facility are characterized as Class A, under the BC Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMMR). Accordingly, Class A biosolids must have undergone pathogen reduction treatment, vector attraction reduction, and specific sampling protocols.
Class A biosolids also have specific limits on their heavy metal and coliform concentrations. The criteria and treatment protocols for Class A designation are outlined in Section 3.2.6. of the OMMR, which regulates the production and land application of compost and biosolids.
Class B biosolids are known to contain bacterial and viral pathogens at varying levels."
According to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, beneficial use of biosolids is based on sound management that includes (clip) ...
- Consideration of the utility and resource value (product performance).
- Strategies to minimize potential risks to the environment and health.
- Strategies to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
- Adherence to federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal standards and regulations.
The CCME policy is upheld by these principles:
"- Municipal biosolids contain valuable nutrients and organic matter that can be recycled or recovered as energy.
- Adequate source reduction and treatment of municipal sludge and septage should effectively reduce pathogens, trace metals, vector attraction, odours, and other substances of concern.
- The beneficial use of municipal biosolids, municipal sludge, and treated septage should minimize the net GHG emissions.
- Beneficial uses and sound management practices of municipal biosolids, municipal sludge, and treated septage must adhere to all applicable safety, quality, and management standards, requirements, and guidelines."
Further on the Lafarge Cement Plant
- The 3,650 tones of "dried pelletized Class A biosolids" produced annually through anaerobic digestion processes at Hartland have been (since 2020) and are ideally in future to shipped to the Lafarge Cement Plant in Richmond, BC for incineration and subsequent use as an ash addition to its cement. Lafarge is striving to be "Canada's most carbon-efficient cement plant." As it shared in June, 2020: "We’re pleased to announce a long term contract with the CRD to provide a reliable, steady and safe supply of biosolids to use as fuel in our cement manufacturing at the Richmond plant."
Problem: "Over the course of 2022, disposal of biosolids at Lafarge was unavailable for approximately 10 months, due to both planned shutdowns and unplanned operational issues. As a result, CRD managed approximately 2,700 tonnes of biosolids at Hartland Landfill, 600 tonnes of which were used to produce Biogas Methane under the Contingency Plan and the remainder were landfilled."
"The average person poos about 30 millilitres of stool for every five kilograms of body weight a day. So for the average 70 kilogram person, that works out to about a half a kilogram (one pound) of poop per day." ~ CBC's The Nature of Things
One pound x 440k residents in the CRD as of 2023 = You do the math.
Progress on Wastewater Treatment (United Nations, 2022) https://www.unwater.org/sites/default/files/app/uploads/2021/09/SDG6_Indicator_Report_631_Progress-on-Wastewater-Treatment_2021_EN.pdf "Globally, 56 per cent of household wastewater flows were safely treated in 2020 (extrapolated from data from 128 countries representing 80 per cent of the global population)."
An earlier post explored how Sooke has traditionally and will in future manage and, eventually (grants willing), extend its sewer system. https://www.jeffbateman.ca/blog/bathroom-reading-sooke-sewers
As District wastewater staff have shared with council, our treatment plant uses a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) treatment process with UV disinfection to provide secondary wastewater treatment. This process removes over 95% of the total suspended solids and high levels of other contaminants. Solid waste is spun dried through a centrifuge system that also involves sludge pumps and a polymer system. This "dewatering" process results in a crumbly dry product that the professionals refer to as "cake." In 2017, Sooke sent 824,990 kgs of biosolids to Hartland, nearly triple the amount hauled away in 2007 (300k kg).
Sooke paid H L Disposal & Lawn Services $123k in 2022 to truck these biosolids to Hartland, where this organic waste is placed in care of the CRD along with the more than 3,000+ tonnes from the McLoughlon Point Wastewater Plant and the Saanich Peninsula Treatment Plant.
Archived at the Times Colonist
Searching my online TC subscription, I've found the following:
- Piping of Sewage Sludge Across Town to Hartland Gets the Nod (Oct. 17, 2013)
"The CRD said it examined 58 alternatives to Hartland in the last four years. Politicians remained unhappy with Hartland as recently as July, calling it “insane” to pump sludge across the region.CRD staff researched seven alternate sites in Saanich, View Royal and Langford — including land held by The Land Conservancy on Luxton Avenue in Langford, a site with power lines on Prospect Lake Road, agricultural land on Burnside Road, and previously-contaminated land at Millstream Meadows ... The committee felt the alternatives were just as far away as Hartland, and in many cases were too close to residences, said CRD sewage committee chairwoman Denise Blackwell. Hartland, where the region’s garbage is buried, offers the possibility of adding kitchen waste to the sludge process, she said. “If you put it at Hartland, this is the beginning of an integrated waste management solution.”
- CRD Directors Uphold Ban on Applying Sewage Sludge to Land (Oct. 30, 2013)
"In a move projected to add millions of dollars to the cost of treating Greater Victoria’s sewage, Capital Regional District politicians Wednesday overwhelmingly decided against overturning a 2011 ban on applying sewage sludge to land ... CRD staff had recommended that directors reconsider the policy, which would have maintained a ban on applying biosolids on agricultural land used for food production, but would have opened the door for use in applications such as silviculture, mine reclamation, fertilizer soil amendments, landscaping and forage crops. But many directors said changing the policy wasn’t worth the risk.The CRD banned use of sludge on land in 2011 amid worries that farmland and the food grown on it could be polluted by pharmaceuticals and heavy metals. Then the CRD planned to dry the sludge left over from sewage treatment as fuel for cement kilns. But experts say the market for it simply isn’t there. Without a buyer, and the policy banning land application in place, staff say there are few options. The policy change would have brought the CRD in line with what staff said is common practice throughout North America.
- Editorial: Seeking A Sludge Solution (Nov. 1, 2013)
"The CRD voted Wednesday to uphold its ban, imposed amid concerns about pollution from heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. That leaves burning and burying as potential sludge-disposal solutions, each of which raises its own concerns. The development of the sewage project has been a rocky road; it’s not going to get any easier. Everyone wants to flush their toilets; no one wants to live next to a sewage plant. Technical solutions are available or can be developed; political solutions are much more difficult."
- Sewage Sludge A Golden Opportunity (March 29, 2015) ... (a pre-April Fool's Day joke?)
"Researchers announced in January that they had identified and successfully extracted appreciable amounts of rare metals from biosolid samples collected from cities across the U.S. Their study focused on 13 high-value minerals, including gold, silver, copper, iridium and platinum. Extrapolating their results, the researchers estimate $16 million worth of metals could be accumulating every year in the sewage of a city with one million residents ... The scientists who struck pay dirt in dirt speculate that the biosolid precious metals come from households, medical offices and industry. Dental offices, for example, work with gold and silver, and minute amounts of that might wash down the drains. Hospitals use some metals in tests and treatments. Our own dental fillings and jewelry could shed molecules daily ... Based on estimates of how much — ahem — raw materials the good residents of Greater Victoria produce each year, our sludge attains a theoretical value of almost $11 million on the commodities markets."
- CRD Looks For Ways to Benefit from Sewage Sludge (April 21, 2016)
"CRD directors created a new select committee Wednesday with a $250,000 budget to spend the next six months investigating and evaluating options for “integrated resource management” such as gasification — a process whereby solid wastes that would normally go to the dump are mixed with sewage biosolids (the sludge that remains after sewage treatment) and used to generate power."
- CRD To Consider Second Look At Sewage Sludge Application Rules (Dec. 1, 2016)
"This week, directors agreed to have staff develop a survey to determine how many farmers and foresters would be willing to consider applying treated sludge to their lands. They also agreed to ask proponents to outline technologies that might address board concerns about applying sludge to land. The moves are part of directors’ search for an integrated waste-management solution for dealing with liquid and solid waste in the region."
= CRD Directors 'Handcuffed' On Sludge Ideas, Saanich Mayor Says (May 13, 2017)
"With millions of dollars of taxpayer money at stake, Capital Regional District directors expressed frustration this week at their lack of control over the CRD’s $765-million sewage treatment plan. The province last year appointed an independent project board to take over the mega-project due to the CRD’s inability to come up with a plan."
- CRD Dumps Sewage Sludge Trip to Europe (Sept. 13, 2017)
"In the face of a public backlash, Capital Regional District directors have dropped a proposed tour of European and North American sewage-sludge processing sites. Last week, CRD directors at a meeting of the integrated resource management committee voted to send two staff and three directors, at an estimated cost of $8,500 each, to tour plants in Spain, France, Germany and Belgium. The aim was to help determine criteria for local integrated resource management, which processes different types of waste together to create a beneficial end product — and, hopefully, revenue."
- Comment: Keep Sewage Sludge Off Farms, Fields and Forests (Phillipe Lucas, Feb. 23, 2020)
"While using sludge as ground cover at Hartland might seem like a reasonable approach with limited impacts on the local environment, the evidence is clear that biosolids simply do not stay where they are applied. Studies have found that when applied to land, the contaminants in biosolids become windborne, and can be transported dozens of kilometres from their site of application, threatening local animals, habitats, residents, and especially CRD staff at Hartland.
1. We can make the biosolids safer by putting in technologies to remove heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and pharmaceuticals, but the CRD has found this to be too expensive at this time.
2. We can turn biosolids into energy through proven technologies like gasification, which is among the CRD’s longer-term options.
3. We can ship these biosolids to cement kilns on the mainland for use as fuel, the current strategy.
4. We can ship biosolids to a biochar facility in Prince George where the carbon they carry can be safely sequestered and turned into a high value end-product."
Converting our biosolids into biochar is by far the most affordable and environmentally friendly short-term solution for when the cement kilns are under maintenance." + 2013 comment by Lucas
- Residual Treatment Facility at Hartland Landfill
- Information Sheet
- Project Details
- Biosolids Fact Sheet
- Spill at Hartland (Sept. 2020) - report
- The BC Organic Matter Recycling Regulation sets requirements for the production of high-quality biosolids and subsequent beneficial use in land application and composting.
* Organic matter defined: "Organic matter can originate from plants, animals or humans, as well as from residential, commercial, institutional, or industrial sources. Examples of organic matter include: food scraps, grass clippings, and animal manure and human waste. A feature of organic matter is that it is biodegradable, and therefore amenable to composting. Organic matter can be recycled to create products for beneficial uses."
- The province is guided by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), comprised of Environmental Ministers from all provinces. In 2012, CCME developed a national approach to encourage the beneficial use and sound management of biosolids. Ministers approved the Canada-Wide Approach for the Management of Wastewater Biosolids. It's based on these four principles:
"1. Municipal biosolids, municipal sludge and treated septage contain valuable nutrients and organic matter that can be recycled or recovered as energy.
2. Adequate source reduction and treatment of municipal sludge and septage should effectively reduce pathogens, trace metals, vector attraction, odours and other substances of concern.
3. The beneficial use of municipal biosolids, municipal sludge and treated septage should minimize the net greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Beneficial uses and sound management practices of municipal biosolids, municipal sludge and treated septage must adhere to all applicable safety, quality and management standards, requirements and guidelines."
Organic matter recycling regulation and review home page
- Environmental Management Act
- Public Health Act
- Organic Matter Recycling Regulation - "In 2002, the Province of BC enacted the OMRR under the Environmental Management Act and the Public Health Act to regulate the following activities: the construction and operation of composting facilities, and the production, distribution, sale, storage, use, and land application of biosolids and compost. The purpose of the regulation is to facilitate the recycling of organic material (through land application and composting) while protecting the environment and human health."
- Organic Matter Recycling Intentions Paper (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, 2018)
- Summary of Public Input into Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (2019)
- Mine Sites: "Organic matter can be used to reclaim areas which have been disturbed through mining or other industrial activities, including for the purposes of improving soil quality. Currently under the OMRR, land application and distribution of managed organic matter may only occur at those sites meeting specified soil quality standards. In certain circumstances, as in the case of specific mine site reclamations or landfill closures, it may be reasonable for managed organic matter to be applied and distributed to sites that may already exceed the specified soil quality standards. In these circumstances it would be reasonable to enable land application that would otherwise be prohibited."
Understanding and Solutions To Challenges For Optimizing Land Application Of Biosolids Outcomes In BC - Kaiwen Xiao (University of British Columbia, 2021)
This UBC grad student sums it up neatly ...
"Although the pro-biosolids coalition is very confident in providing scientific evidence and successful experience from other developed countries, the anti-biosolids coalition usually use long and engaging arguments to connect with public emotions. The pro-biosolids coalition argues based on probabilities of risk while the anti-biosolids coalition focuses on fairness, voluntariness and health effects. It is recommended that more scientific public education programs will help the residents themselves to make rational choices without subjective emotions, which is more significant than simply overwhelming the public with pure science."
Image: From the survey home page - https://getinvolved.crd.bc.ca/biosolids