Garbage options, more landfills or waste-to-energy

A Waste-to-energy facility is one of four options the region’s solid waste management board has for dealing with garbage

A Waste-to-energy facility is one of four options the region’s solid waste management board has for dealing with garbage.

Waste-to-energy is the process of burning garbage into gaseous, solid and liquid products for the subsequent release of heat energy. The heat is then used to generate electricity.

The Comox Strathcona Solid Waste Management Board (which is made up of Campbell River and Comox Valley councillors, as well as regional directors) is currently in the process of updating the Solid Waste Management Plan for both the Campbell River and Comox Valley areas. The new plan will guide the board in dealing with the Campbell River landfill, which will reach capacity within the next year, and the Cumberland landfill which is estimated to be full in three to four years.

Consulting firm AECOM presented the board with a draft solid waste plan in October and from that came four recommendations: one expanded regional landfill in the Comox Valley; one regional expanded landfill in Campbell River; two regional landfills, one in the Comox Valley and the other in Campbell River; and waste-to-energy with location to be determined.

“In the draft solid waste management plan, using the Catalyst paper mill’s Elk Falls location for a ‘mass burn’ incinerator or a landfill is not part of the recommended waste disposal options being considered by the regional solid waste board,” said a press release from Comox Strathcona Waste Management. “However, as indicated in the regional district’s sustainability strategy, waste-to-energy technologies are being assessed as possible alternatives to landfilling waste in the future.”

AECOM presented a waste-to-energy assessment to the board which includes an environmental and cost comparison of waste-to-energy technologies versus expanding existing landfills for disposal of waste over the next 30, 40 and 50 years.

As part of the report, AECOM issued requests for information in July 2011. A total of 11 waste-to-energy vendors responded and it was determined that a large-scale waste-to-energy facility would be less expensive than either a small-scale facility in the Comox Valley or a large-scale facility in Gold River. However, the report also found that although there was no significant difference in environmental risks or greenhouse impacts between the waste-to-energy and landfill options, there was a cost difference.

Debra Oakman, chief administrative officer, said in a report to the board that there is “a very significant cost difference between disposal options.”

Oakman said costs are estimated to be $45 per tonne greater for garbage disposal using waste-to-energy than using a landfill.

“The comparison equates to a cost difference of $2.6 million per year which, over a 30-year waste-to-energy facility life, totals $78.3 million in additional costs for the waste-to-energy option.”

Oakman said at the present time, the AECOM study shows waste-to-energy is not a cost-competitive option for waste disposal, but it’s not completely off the table yet.

“Waste-to-energy technologies disposal options are included in the updated Regional Solid Waste Management Plan, and will remain a board option along with other technologies in the future,” Oakman said. “However, the AECOM report points out that as different disposal technologies emerge, costs may come down, making waste-to-energy options for residual waste disposal more cost competitive.”

The Solid Waste Management Plan will move to the public consultation phase in early 2012, with public meetings expected to be held throughout the Comox Valley and Strathcona Regional Districts. Dates, times and locations of public meetings are still to be determined.

 

Just Posted

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message: Campbell River RCMP

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Island Highway intersection saw the most crashes in Campbell River – ICBC

Dozens of accidents at Highway 19A and Dogwood Street between 2013 and 2017, according to crash map

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

VIDEO: Campbell River students join Sylas Thompson’s polar bear swim campaign

Ocean Grove Elementary students took the plunge as funds exceeded $18,000

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Most Read