What's New

The CRD's short-term plan for biosolids beneficial use relies on incineration at a cement production facility. When the cement kiln is unable to receive biosolids, the contingency is to create biosolids growing medium (BGM) for use in engineered cover systems at Hartland Landfill.

Due to unforeseen and extended operational difficulties at the cement kiln throughout 2022 and into 2023, the BGM capacity at the landfill was exceeded, resulting in landfilling significant amounts of biosolids. Landfilling biosolids is not considered to be a beneficial use and does not meet provincial requirements.

Following a meeting of the CRD Board on July 12, 2023, the Board directed staff to continue to pursue out of region, non-agriculture land application of biosolids as a short-term contingency plan. The biosolids being sent to the Lafarge-owned site in Cassidy will be used in mine reclamation under a provincial Mines Act permit.

The CRD is also trucking biosolids to the Lafarge facility in Richmond, BC, as the primary beneficial use site. The Residuals Treatment facility is currently down for repairs but is expected to be up and producing biosolids by the third week of August 2023.

Long-term biosolids management planning is underway, with external consultants identifying and assessing a variety of beneficial use options. The province has mandated that the process consider land application options, which are included with advanced thermal options. Any options that don't meet beneficial use criteria will not be included.

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.

Any land application contingency alternative will include regular sampling to confirm compliance with Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR) criteria.

The CRD recently hired a strategic communications and public engagement consultant to support the long-term planning consultation process. A detailed consultation plan will be finalized by September 2023, with consultation continuing through the rest of 2023 and into early 2024.

Public and First Nations consultation will inform evaluation and selection of a portfolio or options for inclusion in the long-term biosolids management plan.

The CRD will also reconstitute the Technical and Community Advisory Committee (TCAC) to support the consultation process for updates to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan, including long-term biosolids management planning.

The CRD continues to work on the long-term biosolids management strategy that will come into effect at the end of the 2021-2025 short-term plan, including undertaking three advanced thermal processing (pyrolysis and gasification) pilot projects.

Outcomes have provided valuable insight into the operation of these technologies. Thermal pilot results alone are not expected to be sufficient to definitively confirm the viability of onsite advanced thermal processing of CRD biosolids. Preliminary evaluation of the thermal pilot studies indicate an on-site trial would be beneficial to determine the viability of advanced thermal technology as an option for long-term biosolids management.

Staff have issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) for an advanced thermal site trial (domestic and international). Deadline for submissions was July 14, 2023. Vendors can also propose co-processing with other waste streams as an option.

Pending provincial approvals and public support, a pilot project may commence by the beginning of 2026. If an advanced thermal option is selected, a major amendment to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan and ministerial approval will be required, including a separate consultation process.


On April 13, 2022, the CRD Board approved next steps for a pilot program that will evaluate potential thermal resource recovery options for the Class A biosolids produced through wastewater treatment.

Given the complex nature of thermal technology, the Board directed staff to explore the possibility of a long-term beneficial use option for the region’s biosolids through pilot studies at existing processing facilities in February 2021.

After a detailed procurement process, CRD staff have now engaged three North American vendors for this research program and expect to have data that will inform planning for the long-term management of this material in early 2023.

The CRD’s long-term biosolids management planning process will explore a broad range of beneficial use options and markets, including gasification and land application, as directed by the Province. Public consultation will also be a key component of this planning process ahead of the CRD’s submission of a final plan to the Province in 2024.


The biosolids produced at the CRD's Residuals Treatment Facility must be beneficially used to meet the regulatory requirements outlined by the Province.

The CRD has procured services for the beneficial use of this waste stream with British Columbia’s lower mainland-based cement industry as an alternative fuel, helping reduce their reliance on non-renewable fuels to power their facilities. Using biosolids to power the manufacturing of cement reduces greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the Province’s CleanBC plan to use clean energy to power BC’s industrial economy.

The CRD Biosolids Beneficial Use Strategy (Definitive Plan), complete with the First Nations and public engagement reports, was received by the CRD Board at their meeting on June 12, 2019. The final report was provided to the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy in June 2019.

The CRD’s short-term management plan, including this contingency plan, has been approved by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

With Provincial approval and these beneficial use contracts now in place, the CRD has started developing a long-term management plan for biosolids that will include public consultation on the full spectrum of options permitted by Provincial regulations.

Public Feedback

Public engagement is a key part of developing the CRD's overall biosolids management strategy. The CRD collected feedback on the proposed short-term solution ahead of submitting its definitive plan to the Province. A summary of the feedback received can be viewed in Appendix M of the Definitive Plan.

Progress Reporting

Biosolids Information

Beneficial Use Plans

Plan Appendices

Additional Information

Contact Us

Please email Peter Kickham, Environmental Regulations Manager, for more information.