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 of significant amounts of biosolids. Landfilling biosolids is not considered to be a beneficial use and does not meet provincial requirements. An alternative contingency is required immediately.

A consultant has been hired to assist with long-term biosolids planning and to identify short-term contingency options. The consultant identified land application as the only viable contingency option available in the immediate short-term. As a result, at their February meeting the CRD Board amended its previous policy banning land application of biosolids to allow for limited non-agricultural land application as an additional short-term contingency alternative.

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 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. In spring 2023, staff will provide an update on this analysis and seek direction on next steps toward consultation and planning for the long-term biosolids management plan.


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.