Sludge Watch ==> Southern Ontario's sludge perspectives from Hamilton

Maureen Reilly maureen.reilly at
Fri Aug 11 09:56:42 EDT 2006

Sludgewatch Admin: 

 Toronto now sends at least 6 truckloads or more per day of stinky sludge across the border into unnamed landfills in New York State.
You have to wonder about the cost of this disposal plan to Toronto taxpayers, and the cost in burning fossil fuels. diesel fumes, greenhouse gases
 and road wear.  We also need to know the impact of the regrowth and reactivation of pathogens in Toronto sludge.  Just what kind of repathogenated
material is travelling our highways?  What is its impact on the American receiving communities ?

Certainly a made in Ontario solution, like the solutions in the story below, would make more sense ethically, financially, environmentally, and are a safer
solution from a pathogen public health risk perspective.


Whatever Happened to?
The Hamilton Spectator
(Aug 8, 2006) 
A look back at some people and things that made news in The Spectator


Air-impact reports due on sludge-fuelled power plant 

Liberty Energy is close to completing groundbreaking studies on how emissions from its proposed Strathearne Avenue plant will affect the Hamilton airshed and residents' health.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment asked last winter for more studies on air pollution and odour from the 10-megawatt plant before deciding whether to grant the California-based company an operating certificate based on an environmental screening report or to require a more thorough environmental assessment.

Liberty CEO Wilson Nolan is awaiting ministry comments on drafts of six of seven studies and expects the final one, which is a human-health risk assessment, to be finished by month's end.

Nolan hopes to outline the results early next month to the city, Environment Hamilton and nine other groups or individuals that asked the ministry to order a full assessment.

Wilson believes it's the first time in Canada anyone has tried to assess the health impacts of a new plant in a heavily industrialized area.

Similar studies are done in California by government air-quality management districts.

Liberty wants to generate 10 megawatts of electricity by burning a mix of sewage sludge and waste wood in a high-tech incinerator.

City to present options for sewage-sludge disposal next month 

As Toronto struggles to find ways to get rid of thousands of tonnes of smelly sewage sludge now barred from a Michigan landfill, Hamilton is ready to ask residents to weigh long-term options for disposal of Steel City sludge -- also known as biosolids -- that are now spread on farmland south and east of the city.

Jim Harnum, the senior director of water and wastewater, said consultants have finished a draft biosolids master plan and it has been discussed with a select stakeholders' group.

The public works department expects to present it to the general public sometime in September.

Options include continuing to apply the sludge as farm fertilizer, burning it to generate electricity, heating it to produce a higher quality fertilizer free of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens or mixing it with lime to kill bacteria.

However, sales of fertilizer would likely be impossible because of the toxic heavy metal content.

Harnum didn't mention composting, which a Burlington company has been hired to do with some Toronto sludge, or turning it into fertilizer pellets, which Toronto hopes to try again.

A plant that burned down before going into full operation is being rebuilt.

American Water, which used to run Hamilton's sewage treatment plant, has also proposed pelletizing sludge in an abandoned east Hamilton food-waste recycling plant.

Harnum said he has written to Halton, Niagara and Peel regions, inviting them to consider being partners with Hamilton on sludge disposal.

Peel has two sludge incinerators and is building a third. York and Durham regions are considering teaming up to build another.

Compiled by Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator

emcguinness at 905-526-4650


Sludgewatch PS:  Composting of sewage sludge isn't popular in Ontario.  This is because of the heavy metals content in the sludge. Under Ontario

Regulations, the compost would still need to be managed as a 'waste'.  So since the sludge and the sludge compost would be managed in about the 

same fashion, the waste industry has little incentive to spend the time and money to compost it.  Also, southern Ontario is very highly populated so there are few

locations that are close enough to the source of the sludge where a compost site would be acceptable to neighbours.  Why we don't even have an adequate compost

site for Toronto's source separated kitchen organic waste.  The City of Toronto tells me that 60-70% of the kitchen waste is going to Quebec (hello?? there's a 10 hour return

road-trip). But Quebec tells me they are only getting about 6%  Lord only knows where the green bin waste  is really going. I even heard that it is going to a certain troublesome

leaf and yard waste site (subject to repeated fires) that isn't permitted to take this waste stream.

So Toronto can't seem to manage to compost even its green bin organic waste, never mind its highly stinky sewer wastes.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Sludgewatch-l mailing list