Thank you to everyone who participated in the Long-Term Biosolids Management Public Consultation. All of the input received is being compiled into a What We Heard consultation summary report.

Learn more our engagement page.

Thermal Processing

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.

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.

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. Pending provincial approvals and public support, a pilot project could likely commence by the beginning of 2026.

If an advanced thermal option is selected as a long-term option, a major amendment to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan and ministerial approval will be required, including a separate consultation process.

Should advanced thermal options prove successful through that process, it will take 7-10 years to implement them as a long-term option.

In April, 2023, a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) was issued to identify companies with the ability to design, manufacture, install and operate a biosolids advanced thermal processing demonstration plant for a period of up to 12 months. Ten submissions were received and evaluated, and six will be invited to proceed to a Request for Proposals.

Selected proponents:

  • Pyrocal
  • Waste Management
  • Green Impact Partners
  • IQ Energy
  • Pivotal IRM

Long-term Biosolids Management Planning

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

Due to unforeseen and extended operational difficulties at the cement kiln throughout 2022 and into 2023, use of the BGM capacity at the landfill was exceeded, resulting in the need to landfill 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 quarry in Cassidy will be used in 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 CRD's long-term biosolids management planning process is exploring a broad range of beneficial use options and markets. The Province requires that the process consider land application options along with advanced thermal. 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.

Other options being considered are:

  • 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.

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

Progress Reporting

Biosolids Information

Beneficial Use Plans

Plan Appendices

Additional Information

Contact Us

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