British Columbia Landfill to convert LFG to RNG and sell it to FortisBC

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The Capital Regional District (CRD) recently  announced approval in principle of an agreement where FortisBC will purchase Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) produced from the landfill gas (LFG) that is generated from the Hartland Landfill.  The RNG will be used by FortisBC for beneficial use in its natural gas distribution system.

The CRD is a regional government for 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, serving more than 413,000 people. FortisBC Energy Inc. owns and operates approximately 49,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a major company in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry.

The project is expected to reduce the region’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 264,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the 25-year project life, the equivalent of removing 2,240 cars from the road for 25 years. The agreement would allow for FortisBC to purchase between 140,000 gigajoules to 280,000 gigajoules each year for 25 years, starting in late 2021.

“Climate action and environmental stewardship are embedded in the CRD’s strategic priorities, committing the CRD to take a leadership role pursuing carbon neutrality,” said CRD Board Chair Colin Plant. “This Earth Day, we are sharing this significant move forward in our commitment to this goal — working alongside local governments to further reduce emissions and explore new resource recovery opportunities are key initiatives associated with this priority. The GHG analysis clearly points to upgrading landfill gas to Renewable Natural Gas as the best decision for the climate.”

RNG is a carbon-neutral energy made from capturing and upgrading the biogas released from decomposing organic waste in the landfill. RNG blends seamlessly with conventional natural gas in the existing natural gas system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Ongoing commitment towards a lower carbon future remains a key focus at FortisBC,” said Doug Stout, vice-president of market development and external relations with FortisBC. “I’d like to thank the teams at FortisBC and the Capital Regional District for their collaboration in completing this important application and another positive step forward in achieving provincial GHG reductions.”

Increasing the amount of renewable gases in FortisBC’s system is a vital step towards their 30BY30 target, an ambitious goal to reduce customers’ GHG emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

In 2004, Hartland’s landfill gas-to-electricity plant began using landfill gas for green power generation and currently supplies electricity to approximately 1,600 homes in the region. The volume of biogas being produced at the landfill has exceeded the capacity of this current system, and the existing infrastructure is reaching the end of its useful life. Two options were evaluated: expanding the existing power generation equipment to sell more electricity to BC Hydro or installing a biogas upgrading facility at Hartland Landfill to upgrade this biogas to RNG. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the displacement of conventional natural gas in alignment with the CRD Board’s climate emergency declaration.

A lifecycle greenhouse gas assessment of the two alternatives found that upgrading landfill gas to RNG will reduce the region’s GHG emissions by approximately 264,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the 25-year project life, a significant improvement over the electricity scenario, which would result in an approximate 2,800 tonne reduction.

The CRD and FortisBC are currently working together on a supply contract that will be submitted to the British Columbia Utilities Commission for approval. If approved by the commission, the CRD will continue to be responsible for the ownership and operation of the Hartland Landfill, the landfill gas collection system and the upgrade facility. FortisBC will pay a fixed price per gigajoule for the RNG and will be responsible for the costs associated with injecting the RNG in to the natural gas distribution system.

 

Removing Contaminants from Landfill Leachate using Electro-Oxidation

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Written by Nicole Bolea, PE, Xogen Technologies Inc.

More than just ammonia removal…

Previously the application of Advanced Electro-Oxidation, AEO, technology was shown to be a viable option for ammonia removal from landfill leachate.  Though ammonia is a major problem and still a target, recent testing and piloting has shown Advanced Electro-Oxidation destroys many more contaminants in addition to removing ammonia to non-detect levels.  New recent testing and piloting shows promising data for Boron and color reduction.

Landfill Leachate: An Expensive Challenge

A growing number of landfills are seeing increases in costs and issues associated with trucking leachate and sending it to the sewer.  According to the U.S. Geological Survey landfill leachate hosts numerous contaminants of emerging concern[1].  This is forcing landfills to reevaluate their systems to treat or pre-treat onsite.

Advanced Electo- Oxidation: How it Works

Screened leachate is pumped through Xogen’s reactor. When the leachate contacts an electrode in the reactor a direct oxidation of the contaminants occurs on the surface of the electrode. Indirect oxidation in the bulk occurs as well from the generation of highly oxidizing species including ozone, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals.  As these highly oxidative species form they immediately react with organic matter, ammonia compounds and other constituents in the aqueous solution and get converted into a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen gas. Suspended solids in the wastewater will precipitate or float to the surface by the micro-bubbles of gas generated while pathogens are completely killed[2]. This method results in not producing hazardous waste streams that are costly to deal with.  There is no concentrate stream or biosolids produced, the contaminants are destroyed into inert gases that are mixed and vented at safe levels.

 

Contaminant Removal Data

Along with ammonia, AEO has the potential to reduce or completely remove: COD, BOD5, Boron, nitrates, pharmaceuticals, sulfides, H2S, phenols, poly vinyls, cyanide, and E. Coli (resulting in complete disinfection). Piloting a large sample of landfill leachate from the Midwest revealed the potential to remove Boron. Boron reduction by approximately 50% was observed during this pilot. The testing was performed at the pilot plant located on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The campus boasts an impressive piloting and testing system t

Sample before and after AO treatment

hat is part of the Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems, WINSS. Their vision is “To develop technological solutions that can be readily implemented by small systems. To reduce barriers to their use by utilities. To stimulate research for small systems among the academic and entrepreneurial community. To develop new models for technology & educational outreach in support of small systems”[3]

When discharging leachate to the city sewers color can be a major concern for small communities. The color produced from landfills can inhibit the city’s ability to disinfect with UV later in their process before discharge. Below is a picture and graphical data showing the color reduction potential with AEO.

When discharging leachate to the city sewers color can be a major concern for small communities. The color produced from landfills can inhibit the city’s ability to disinfect with UV later in their process before discharge. Below is a picture and graphical data showing the color reduction potential with AEO.

The picture helps show the color reduction potential, but UV visual spectroscopy testing was also performed to quantify the affect AEO has on color. Along with color in this testing, COD was reduced by approximately 50% with complete ammonia destruction to non-detect levels.

Conclusion

Along with removing ammonia to non-detect and nitrogen to very low levels, Advanced Electro-Oxidation will remove and destroy many more contaminants. The ability to remove many CECs at once has the potential to be a cost-effective onsite treatment option for landfills. A special thanks to the professionals, professors, and students at UMass Amherst for testing and piloting landfill leachate, wastewater to show the potential for Advanced Electro-Oxidation.

 

North Bay Banning Textiles from Landfill

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The City of North Bay, a community approximately 50,000 about 350 km north to Toronto, recently banned the collection and disposal of textiles at the City-owned landfill.

The ban is a result of a vote of City Council to discontinue the collection and disposal of textiles at the city landfill. A majority of council adopted a recommendation from the city’s infrastructure and operations committee to ban textiles from the Merrick Landfill and conduct an education campaign.

The textile ban is being taken, in part, to extend the life of the existing Merrick Landfill. Operations at the landfill began in 1995 and the projected lifespan is 19 years.

In 2019, Councillor Mac Bain tried to convince fellow councillors to implement the landfill ban on textiles. He argued that used textiles should go to local charities like the Salvation Army and Rebuilt Resources who can then resell them. Torn and unsold clothing can be broken up and used as rags according to Bain.

The textile ban takes effect on April 22nd. City enforcement of the ban will not include waste collectors opening and inspecting garbage bags. The city also will not levy fines against individuals or businesses, and used textiles which cannot be donated, such as soiled or greasy rags, can still be thrown away.

It is estimated the the landfill ban of textiles could potentially divert an estimated 1,890 metric tons, of unwanted textiles each year in North Bay. Currently, approximately 85 of unwanted textiles are landfilled.

City of Saskatoon planning landfill expansion

The City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is moving ahead with plans for an expansion of its existing landfill. City Council recently approved plans for expansion estimated at $31.3 million.

With the capacity of the existing landfill space, Council decided on the expansion. With the expansion, combined with planned waste diversion activities, the landfill could last another 50 years.

Besides landfill expansion, the monies will be used in the development of recycling area called Recovery Park. The Park will include new weigh scales, a space for recycling construction and demolition waste, a household hazardous waste collection depot, composting, recycling and a gently used item exchange.

In 2016, The City of Saskatoon worked with a consultant to characterize the composition of waste actually going to landfills. The resulting study found that the Saskatoon’s landfilled waste streams were made up largely of materials that should be diverted away from landfills. Overall, 17% of the waste headed for landfills was recyclable, and 32% was food and yard waste that could be composted or handled in some other appropriate way. Thus, approximately half the waste going to landfills could be diverted.  This amount is in addition to the 23 percent that is already being diverted. Saskatoon City Council has set a target of 70% waste diversion by 2023.  

Solid Waste Management System Upgrade at The Six Nations Community

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Written by Abimbola Badejo, Staff Reporter

The Government of Canada recently announced it was contributing $8.3 million to the upgrade of the waste management system at The Six Nations of the Grand River. The government contribution will go towards funding the closing of an in-community landfill site and construction of a new transfer station at Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation.

The Six Nations Community of the Grand River First Nation is located 20 kilometers southeast of Brantford, Ontario, along the Grand River. The reserve community encompasses about 71 square miles  in the northern portion of the province of Ontario, Canada; and the residents manage their own municipal solid waste at a landfill site in the same area.

With dwindling land resources at the Six Nations Reserve, there is the need for a better solid management system so that the available land can be preserved for other uses such as agricultural, residential, commercial and community uses.

In a media release, Chief Ava Hill stated: “The new transfer station will allow us to meet our community’s immediate and future waste management needs which is critical to support our growing and progressive community.  Our community has recycled over four million pounds over the last six years with our waste diversion rates increasing year over year.  We are committed to diverting as much waste as possible in order to reduce the global waste burden which is negatively impacting our ecosystem, lands, waters and contributing to climate change.”

Besides the $8.3 million invested in the project to date by the Canadian government, an additional $378,188 from Indigenous Services Canada was used in the preliminary feasibility and design phases of the project.

The waste management plan is to build a new transfer station on the existing site that consists of an old landfill and a recycling facility. The transfer station will operate as a temporary solid waste collection site where various material recovery pre-processing activities such as sorting, separation and compaction of metals, cardboard, paper; composting of organics and sorting of plastics can be carried out. These materials may be treated on site if the conversion equipment is available or they may be transported off the reserve for further processing. 

The improved solid waste diversion system which focuses more on recycling, composting and hazardous waste programs will not only help to preserve land resources, it will also help to protect sources of drinking water, prevent land contamination, reduce dangerous impacts to the environment, protect the habitat and reduce the risks to human health and safety. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2019.

Survey suggests some Ontario Municipalities are open to hosting a landfill

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A recent survey of municipal politicians and Chief Administration Officers commissioned by a coalition of over 70 Ontario municipalities has found that four in ten municipalities are open to the idea of acting as a host to a new landfill.

The coalition was formed to lobby the Ontario government into allowing more municipal control on the approval process for landfills in the Province. The coalition calls itself the Demand the Right Coalition of Ontario Municipalities. It commissioned Public Square Research to conduct the survey.

The survey involved a random selection process, with 325 participants. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent to a list of over 1,700 Mayors, Reeves, Councillors and chief administrators in Ontario.

Currently in Ontario, a private sector company is required to go through an environmental assessment process and then a technical environmental approval process before being permitted to develop a landfill site. Both of the processes are managed by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MOECP). No municipal approval is required.

The current timeline for approval for a new landfill in Ontario is anywhere from five to ten years. Extensive public consultation is required as part of the process as is discussions with municipal government officials. Many private sector proponents would likely see another level of government approval for landfill development as an added time and cost burden with very limited environmental benefit.

In November 2018, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks published its Made-in-Ontario Environmental Plan. The plan included a proposal to provide municipalities with the right to approve new landfills. Further details of the proposed change were released for public comment in the follow-up Discussion Paper on Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities, published in March 2019.

The results of the survey found that the chief concerns of municipal leaders for new landfill approvals are environmental (27%), site location (19%), and financial considerations (15%). Other issues of importance included resident opinion (9%), odour controls (9%), and public safety (8%).

“We can now confirm that municipal approval will improve landfill operations, not eliminate them,” said Ted Comiskey, Mayor of Ingersoll and Chair of the Demand the Right Coalition. “By placing municipal governments on a level playing field with private waste management companies, councils and staff can negotiate for enhanced environmental protections, better site selections, and improved financial considerations on costs such as tipping fees and municipal services.”

Comiskey said, “Municipalities want the right to say yes or no, as we do with casinos, cannabis stores, and nuclear waste sites. This will be good for all concerned, as it means that communities will be given real choices. There will also be a cost impact on waste management. If the cost of landfill goes up, there will be a financial incentive for everyone to reduce their waste. Currently, there is none.”

70 Ontario municipalities are members of the Demand the Right Coalition

 

Federal grants to boost LFG collection at Calgary, Regina, and Waterloo landfills

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The federal government recently provided grants to three municipal landfills in an effort to reduce methane emissions from all three. The money for the operational improvements at the landfills come from the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Fund.

The $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF) is a part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (the Framework). The Fund supports the Framework by leveraging investments in projects that will generate clean growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help meet or exceed Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments.

City of Calgary, Alberta

The Federal Government has committed up to $5.9 million to help Calgary’s Waste & Recycling Services reduce greenhouse gas emissions by expanding its landfill gas collection systems. The East Calgary Waste Management Facility will install new wells to collect landfill gas, distribution piping for wells, and mechanical and electrical upgrades to expand the volume of landfill gas collected.

LFG, which consists of methane and carbon dioxide (with trace amounts of other gases) gas is created as landfill waste decomposes in anaerobic conditions. The city’s vertical extraction wells then collect and convert the gas to CO2 by burning it off by a flare rather than seeping out into the atmosphere.

The City of Calgary will operate between 40 to 50 methane wells, like the one pictured here, to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses coming from Calgary landfills. CRAIG GLOVER / CRAIG GLOVER/LONDON FREE PRESS/Q

Martin Ortiz, performance operations leader for waste and recycling services, said methane is around 25 times more harmful to the environment than CO2. He said the project will help reduce Calgary’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 630,000 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of the system.

“In 2017 we gathered around 40,000 tonnes of CO2 . . . at this site, which is good news for the environment,” Ortiz said.

City of Regina, Saskatchewan

The City of Regina municipal landfill is to receive $1.3 million in federal funding to pay for and expansion of its landfill gas (LFG) collection system. Greg Kuntz, Regina’s manager of environmental services, said the money will be used to drill 30 new wells into the old landfill site.

“What we are doing is extracting that methane and burning it off on a flare so it converts the methane to carbon dioxide which is much less harmful as a greenhouse gas,” Kuntz said.

The project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 per percent. The goal of the project is to remove 30,000 tonnes of methane gas, the equivalent of taking 8,000 vehicles off the road a year.

The LFG to energy system was installed at the Regina Landfill in 2017 at a cost of approximately $5 million. The City of Regina and SaskPower entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement at the time operations began. SaskPower handles the sales of electricity produced by the facility. The facility generates approximately $1 million in revenue for the City annually.

Regional of Waterloo

The federal government is investing up to $1.5 million, subject to a formal funding agreement, to help the Region of Waterloo increase gas collection efficiency at the Waterloo Landfill facility.

This investment will help expand the Region’s existing landfill gas capture system, which prevents greenhouse gases like methane from being released into the air, and instead uses them to generate renewable energy. The new project will increase gas collection efficiency, further reduce carbon pollution, and increase the generation of renewable electricity at the Waterloo Landfill facility.

Capturing of additional landfill gas will result in additional gas flows and improved quality, which helps increase renewable electricity generation in the Region of Waterloo.

The Waterloo landfill opened in 1972. It consists of 71 hectares of dedicated landfill space which has a maximum capacity of 15 million tonnes of waste. The landfill is expected to reach capacity near 2030. The Region of Waterloo has already started researching future waste management options through its Waste Master Plan process.

Northern Canada Waste Management Update

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The City of Iqaluit, Nunavut recently began consultations on a $35 million waste plan.  Currently, a new landfill and recycling facility is planned.  Iqaluit is the capital city of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. It sits on vast Baffin Island in Frobisher Bay.

The new waste management plan the city first announced this past July, after the federal government confirmed it will put $26.6 million into the project, amounting to 75 per cent of its $35-million cost.  The remaining 25 per cent of the money will come from the city, through the block funding it receives from the Government of Nunavut.

The $35 million will pay for a new landfill proposed to be located about 8.5 kilometres northwest of Iqaluit, the closure and cleanup of the existing landfill and a waste transfer station.

The existing municipal landfill in Iqaluit was built in 1995 as a stop-gap, to be used for just five years. Until now, the city has not been able to build a new facility because of the cost, said Amy Elgersma, the city’s acting chief administrative officer, in an interview with the media on July 20th at the landfill.

The landfill foreman, Jeff McMunn, says they see over 50 truck-loads of garbage a day, from individual drop-offs and from street collection.

At the existing landfill, waste is capped with dirt, rock and gravel. If it’s not covered quickly enough, the wind can blow items away or animals can eat it. The proposed new landfill will be a bale-fill design, which involves compacting the trash into bales that are then wrapped in plastic and stacked in neat rows.

Iqaluit’s Existing Landfill (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)

The current plan is for the to use the waste transfer station to recycle metal and tires, and to sort electronics, furniture and household items that could be offered back to residents for re-use.  The city also says only waste that cannot be re-used or recycled will be sent to the landfill site.  The city estimates that recycling at the transfer station will result in a 44 per cent reduction in waste destined for disposal at the landfill.

The recycles generated from the waste transfer station will be sent in shipping containers to southern Canadian locations for further processing.

The Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board must still look at the city’s plans, through an application the city was expected to make to regulators this month.  The city hopes the construction of the transfer station and landfill will start in 2019.