Biosolids Master Plan
The Region of Waterloo (Region) developed a Biosolids Master Plan in 2003 to provide direction for biosolids management activities in the Region to the year 2021. The objective of the 2003 Biosolids Master Plan was to develop a biosolids management strategy that would be environmentally friendly, cost effective, and able to adapt to changing requirements and conditions over the next 20 years.
The Region is updating its Biosolids Master Plan in light of recent growth in the Region, changes to the regulatory environment, climate change, and adoption of the Region's new Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
The Biosolids Master Plan Update will help the Region assess the status of its biosolids treatment, management, and disposal facilities; and will reconfirm or develop a preferred biosolids management strategy, to the year 2041, that is environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and that can be maintained over the long term.
The Biosolids Master Plan Update was completed in 2011.
A Class Environmental Assessment for the Biosolids Heat Drying Facility is underway. The project site can be found here.
The Final Report and Appendices are provided below:
Biosolids Master Plan - FINAL REPORT - October 2011
Appendix A - Notice of Commencement
Appendix B - Project Team Terms of Reference
Appendix C - Project Steering Committee Terms of Reference
Appendix D - Stakeholder Advisory Committee
Appendix E - Notice of Public Information Centre #1 and Correspondence Received
Appendix F - Notice of Completion
Appendix G - Technical Memorandum #1
Appendix H - Technical Memorandum #2
Appendix I - Technical Memorandum #3
Appendix J - Technical Memorandum #4
Appendix K - Technical Memorandum #5
Appendix L - Technical Memorandum #6
The Region of Waterloo will develop a comprehensive biosolids strategy that embodies the Region's sustainability goals, principles and environmental focus; incorporates innovation, diversification and flexibility; builds on best practices; and protects the unique features and resources of the Region for the community now and in the future.
Biosolids are generated through treatment of wastewater at the Region's thirteen WWTPs. At four of the Region's largest plants; Kitchener, Preston, Galt and Waterloo, the sludge is anaerobically digested and the resulting biosolids are either applied to agricultural lands or dewatered and landfilled. At seven of the Region's plants; Hespeler, Ayr, Wellesley, St. Jacobs, Conestogo, Heidelberg and New Hamburg, the sludge is aerobically digested, and the biosolids are applied to agricultural land.
Historically, biosolids have been received at the Manitou Dr Transfer Station and stored at the Region's Biosolids Management Facility (BMF) located at the Kitchener WWTP whenever land application is not practical. Biosolids are also stored in smaller lagoons at the New Hamburg WWTP and Ayr WWTP.
A number of changes to the Region's biosolids management strategy have been implemented since 2008 including the following:
- Maximizing the use of the dewatering facility at the Galt WWTP to allow dewatering of biosolids generated at other Regional plants;
- Accelerating implementation of dewatering facilities at the Waterloo WWTP and/or Kitchener WWTP through the use of mobile dewatering units until the new dewatering facilities are completed;
- Continuing land application of liquid and dewatered biosolids when conditions permit, including the lease of fallow land;
- Establishing a program to landfill dewatered biosolids that cannot be land applied; and,
- Updating the Biosolids Management Master Plan to review and evaluate current and emerging technologies for long term biosolids management.
A study completed in 2008 recommended the following management practices for the aerobically digested sludge, which are also being implemented by the Region:
- Continue to process Ayr biosolids at the Ayr WWTP;
- In the short and long terms, haul sludge from Wellesley WWTP and St. Jacobs WWTP to the New Hamburg WWTP for digestion and liquid biosolids storage;
- In the short term (until 2012), haul Hespeler WWTP sludge to the Kitchener WWTP, and add to raw wastewater for co-thickening in the primary clarifiers;
- For the long term (after 2012), construct new sludge holding tanks at the Hespeler WWTP with odour control (currently under pre-design, construction expected by 2012), and haul sludge to either Kitchener WWTP or Waterloo WWTP for digestion and dewatering.
The above strategies for anaerobically and aerobically digested biosolids have provided an interim solution until the Biosolids Master Plan is updated with the following benefits to date:
- No immediate need for cake storage;
- Relative ease to implement and operate; and,
- Landfill capacity available at waste management facilities in Ontario.
Table showing current sludge digestion and biosolids management practices.
The Master Plan Update Study will follow Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process (June 2000, amended in 2007). Consultation with the public, stakeholders, and government review agencies is a vital component of this Master Plan Update Study.
As part of the master planning process, a Stakeholder Committee that includes representation from the community-at-large has been established to provide advice and feedback to the project team at key milestones points throughout the study.
Notice of Commencement
Notice of Completion
Public Information Centre #1 Information Package - June 2010
Public Information Centre #2 Information Package - May 2011
For questions on the Biosolids Master Plan update, please contact:
Region of Waterloo
150 Frederick Street, 7th Floor
Kitchener, ON N2G 4J3