Community consultation begins to determine best use for Biosolids

Jan 11, 2024

Victoria, BC– Public consultation is underway as the Capital Regional District (CRD) considers long-term options and technologies to harness the benefits of biosolids, the nutrient-rich by-product from wastewater treatment.

Currently, the region’s biosolids are largely being landfilled under emergency measures, while some are beneficially used to offset fossil fuels or for mine reclamation. The CRD is obligated as part of regulatory commitments to find a long-term solution.

“Biosolids are a valuable resource which we must use to benefit our region,” said CRD Board Chair Colin Plant. “Public and First Nations consultation will help us shape a sustainable, long-term solution for biosolids management that aligns with our regulatory requirements.”

The provincial government requires the CRD to file a long-term plan outlining the beneficial uses for biosolids by Spring 2024.

Biosolids are the by-product of the region’s wastewater treatment processes and must meet stringent environmental standards. The CRD produces the highest quality biosolids obtainable, known as “Class A” biosolids. They meet or exceed rigorous provincial standards regarding pathogens and heavy metals to ensure the protection of human and environmental health.

 “It’s not a topic most people are talking about around the water cooler but it’s very important to our region,” said CRD Director Barbara Desjardins, Chair of the CRD’s Environmental Services Committee. “Our role is to determine how to best maximize the community benefits of this organic by-product. In 2011, prior to introducing wastewater treatment in the core area, the CRD Board of Directors passed a biosolids land application ban based on the concerns of members of the public. However, the province requires that land application options be considered along with the other options the CRD is exploring, including advanced thermal options.”

Biosolids can help improve soil fertility, prevent erosion, and accelerate tree and plant growth. Some communities use biosolids as forest fertilizer or to reclaim industrial lands such as mines. Others use it on lawns, golf courses, municipal boulevards and in agriculture, such as orchards, to promote plant growth and reduce reliance on synthetic fertilizers.

Biosolids can also be thermally processed and used as fuel, reducing the requirement for non-renewable fuels such as coal or natural gas. A small percentage of CRD biosolids have been sent to a cement kiln in Richmond but this is not regarded as a reliable long-term option as the facility has had operational difficulties.

Biosolids are commonly used in beneficial ways in communities across North America. In British Columbia., nearly every large community uses biosolids as fertilizer or in compost and biosolids are commonly found in lawn products sold at local retailers.

The public consultation process includes educational videos and materials, an online open house, a statistically valid survey, and an online survey that is open until Friday, March 6, 2024. A Community and Technical Advisory Committee, which includes public representatives as well as those from each of the core municipalities, has been engaging on this topic since October 2023.

To learn more, the public can visit or call Glenn Harris, Senior Manager of Environmental Protection, at 250-360-3090.

The CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and government partners to enable sustainable growth, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at



For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Tel: 250.360.3229
Cell: 250.216.5492