Greater Victoria will likely resume sending its dried Class A biosolids – a dried, granular-pellet byproduct of treated wastewater –to the mainland by the end of summer.
Larisa Hutcheson, the Capital Regional District’s parks and environmental services general manager, told board members July 14 it’ll be about a month before the residuals treatment facility can sieve the region’s pellets down to the size where the Lafarge cement plant will accept them.
The biosolids have been used by the Richmond facility as an alternative to coal in fueling manufacturing, which adheres to the provincial requirement for treated waste from the CRD to have a “beneficial use.”
At the board meeting, directors unanimously approved the first two recommendations of a motion. The first was that the CRD support and facilitate the Township of Esquimalt’s feasibility study on using gasification to dispose of solid waste and kitchen scraps, and secondly, that this process be used “to test biosolids in the gasification process as an option of the final step in the final stage of biosolids” for the region.
The motion’s third recommendation asked the board to request that the province end allowing land application of biosolids on the surface at Hartland Landfill, which garnered debate among directors before it was approved.
“Having the first two parts of the motion may help to persuade the province to allow our initial plan and uphold our ban on land application,” Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said.
Last year, the CRD rescinded its ban on land applying biosolids at Hartland for when it’s unable to send them to Lafarge due to the plant’s yearly maintenance shutdowns. That would allow land application for uses like capturing fugitive landfill emissions or improving tree growth in reforested areas at Hartland.
On July 14, Hutcheson said the CRD does “not have a land application process underway as envisioned in our contingency plan,” so it hasn’t been spreading the biosolids at the landfill property.
Under B.C.’s Organic Matter Recycling Regulation, Class A biosolids must have specific pathogen and contaminant levels that are safe to human health and the environment.
The CRD board will be asking the province to update that regulation as soon as possible with “current science, best practices and the state of knowledge on emerging contaminants of concern in order to address concerns related to public health and environmental values.”
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