Biosolids Master Plan

We are developing a Biosolids Master Plan (BMP) that will determine how we will manage our biosolids in an environmentally sound, sustainable and cost-effective manner, while meeting Provincial regulations.

Background

Biosolids, more commonly called sewage sludge, is the nutrient-rich end-product of sewage treatment. It contains significant quantities of organic nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as trace amounts of minerals that are beneficial for plant growth. Biosolids also contain metals and other material that are quite often limited by regulation or licence.

At the sewage treatment plants, the solids are separated from the wastewater. These solids, which consist mainly of organic matter, are then treated and dewatered. At the end of the process, the solids become biosolids.

The City’s three sewage treatment plants produced about 13,500 dry tonnes of biosolids in 2012. This is expected to increase to 23,000 dry tonnes by 2037.

Biosolids are provincially regulated, which includes production, transport, use (including beneficial use) and disposal.

Up until January 1, 2011, we would deliver, spread and incorporate a portion of our biosolids into agricultural land at no cost to landowners. The amount would vary depending on a number of factors (e.g., weather). For example, in 2010, we applied 48% of the biosolids on the land.

As a result of concerns about nutrient overloading in Lake Winnipeg, a Provincial regulation was enacted that prohibited the spreading of biosolids on land in winter, and decreased the loading rate of biosolids to farmland. Consequently, we have been landfilling biosolids at Brady Resource Management Facility (Brady Landfill).

We are also moving forward with a two-year, $7 million pilot program to compost biosolids at the Brady Resource Management Facility (Brady Landfill), which will be able to compost 20% of our biosolids. Depending on the results of the pilot, the composting option could be a long term solution for dealing with all or part of Winnipeg’s biosolids.

Developing a Master Plan

We issued a Request for Information for Biosolids Management (RFI) to identify groups and gauge the interest in the beneficial reuse of biosolids. This will help us understand the market and the financial implications for biosolids reuse.

Some potential beneficial reuse options for biosolids include:

  • combustion with beneficial reuse (e.g., ash, energy capture)
  • heat drying to form fertilizer-like pellets and applied to the land to utilize nutrients for agriculture, tree farms and land rehabilitation areas
  • raw material for industrial processes (e.g., cement manufacturing, glass aggregate manufacturing, fertilizer manufacturing)
  • applying to agricultural land meeting nutrient guidelines

Review and rate options online
You can also see the public meeting presentation online

Timeline

Jul – Oct 2013 Post RFI and hold information session
Nov – Dec 2013 Evaluate RFI responses and identify potential options
Early 2014 Obtain feedback through public participation
Jan – Sept 2014 Develop a Biosolids Master Plan
Oct 2014 Submit Biosolids Master Plan to the Province
13 comments on “Biosolids Master Plan
  1. Patrick says:

    GREAT IDEA! Proud that Winnipeg will get on-board with Eco-Friendly solutions!

  2. Sara Jane Schmidt says:

    Anything that can reuse these materials in an Eco-beneficial way is good news. Go for it!

  3. Ahmed says:

    The major issues with biosolids is the heavy metal content

    • Jaroslaw Rudnycky'j says:

      ‘Biosolids’ in this context are the solids left from sewage treatment. To the best of my knowledge, the average human excretes almost no heavy metals which are stored in the body, unless we’re undergoing chelation therapy, or we’d be dying of heavy metal poisoning or at least suffering from their toxicity. Winnipeggers don’t eat fish from Minamato Bay.

      • admin says:

        Thanks for your comments Ahmed and Jaroslaw.
        Heavy metals in biosolids come from a variety of sources, including industrial and residential. Industrial discharges of metals to the City’s sewer system is regulated through the Sewer By-Law.

        The City prepares an annual report that is submitted to the Province and includes data on metals content in the biosolids: http://winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/pdfs/sewage/complianceReporting/Biosolids/1089ERR_2012.pdf
        Although metals are present in biosolids, given the concentrations are relatively low, they are not the limiting factor on land spreading of biosolids.

  4. Ahmed says:

    like we don’t flush off other things in the closet?…..

  5. Ron says:

    Let’s recycle on farm land , it’s a good fertilizer.

  6. Kevin Miller says:

    I support all of the listed potential beneficial reuse options for biosolids.

  7. Alex says:

    The composting program sounds promising. I’d list that as my preferred option.

    Landfill is not a preferred option due to elimination of biologically available nutrients.

    Other considerations:
    Spread biosolids in areas with limited public access (i.e. power corridors) for natural attenuation of metals impacts. Nobody is using the land anyways.

    Approach farmers to create land-berms along the edges of their fields for microclimate wind protection of crops during dry summer months.

    Glad to see that the City is allowing public consultation. Don’t increase our taxes with a half-brained “solution”.

  8. Gary Hammond says:

    The owner of Eco Sciences, LL has developed a newly patent pending solar technology for processing wastewater biosolids ONLY using solar energy, which coverts it into a safe pasteurized fertilizer. This process is called SolarOrganite®.

    We are currently looking for municipalities and utilities that would be interested in putting in this newly developed technology. Since this is a new process, we are willing to put in a SolarOrganite® Biosolids Management Facilities at WHOLESALE COST ONLY.

    We are also open to entering into a Public – Private – Partnership. The total cost of the SolarOrganite® Biosolids Management Facilities can be paid in full using only your current sludge disposal budget. No more capital expenses. No need to increase taxes. Maybe even lower taxes !

    The SolarOrganite® process is clean, green and seen as the most cost-effective process.

    Gary Hammond, President

    Eco Sciences, LLC
    Office: 352-358-1222
    Email: EcoSciences@gmail.com
    Web Sites: http://www.EcoSciencesLLC.com
    http://www.SolarOrganite.com

    • Jaroslaw Rudnycky'j says:

      Hi Gary,

      It’s unclear whether or not your company has had a dialogue with Winnipeg Water & Waste regarding your process.

      Are you at liberty to provide clarification?

      Thanks,

      Jerry

    • admin says:

      Hello Gary, We recommend that Eco Sciences LLC submit technical information to us on their proposed process for treating biosolids. This submission will be reviewed and considered along with information from other potential treatment options during the preparation of the Biosolids Master Plan. As we are wrapping up the public engagement process, we would need your submission within a couple of weeks.
      We will review the treatment options based on the evaluation criteria that have been supported through the public engagement process.