City seeks input on proposed Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan

Two of the wastewater treatment facilities in Kingston being considered for upgrades to allow for the collection and use of biosolids and/or biogas, as being considered in the Kingston Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan. Image via Utilities Kingston.

As Utilities Kingston works to support the Kingston Climate Action Plan, both the City and Utilities Kingston are seeking public input on the Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan.

The Master Plan is looking at ways to both enhance wastewater treatment plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and capture and make use of the biosolids and biogas produced through the wastewater treatment process.

“We continue to lead the way in environmental protection. Our wastewater treatment plants are some of North America’s most environmentally progressive and responsible,” said Jim Keech, President and CEO of Utilities Kingston, in a statement. “This initiative will help us pursue innovative solutions to further reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment, while reducing organics sent to landfill in Kingston.”

Reducing greenhouse gases and creating renewable natural gas for local use

According to Utilities Kingston, the wastewater treatment process offers an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as the process produced methane gas, or biogas, from the digestion of organic solids. Methane is 35 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas if it is simply released into the atmosphere, and is currently flamed to reduce its greenhouse gas potential.

The Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan notes that the methane produced through this process is a renewable resource, and proposes to enhance its production so that it can be captured and used as a substitute for petroleum natural gas.

“The creation and use of this renewable natural gas could reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly,” Utilities Kington said.

According to the Utilities Kingston Information Report to the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies Committee in October of 2019, the captured methane could be used for on-site combined heat and power, boilers, vehicle fuel, and local or regional natural gas pipeline injection. The concept could also involve the inclusion of other organic material, such as the source separated organics from the City’s curbside Green Bin program to further increase gas production and address reduce or eliminate organics sent to landfill, according to the Master Plan. The Master Plan will also take into consideration possible options for the use and management of biosolids which are created through the processing of wastewater.

The Master Plan also indicates that Tetra Tech Canada Inc., which was retained to undertake the Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan in 2017, points to the upgrading of the solids process at Cataraqui Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant as the most feasible and beneficial scenario at this time, a preferred option for the Master Plan implementation will not be provided to City Council until input is gathered through public consultation.

The opportunity to participate in that public consultation will take place on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 at 85 Lappan’s Lane from 4 to 7 p.m. The public information center at that location will offer information on the proposed Master Plan and the expected impacts associated with pursuing the Plan, such as noise, odour, and traffic.

At the event, residents will gave the opportunity to learn about and provide input on:

  • Capital costs and potential timelines.
  • Proposed locations for biogas production, including the Cataraqui Bay Wastewater Treatment Facility, Ravensview Wastewater Treatment Facility or a third brownfield site, such as the municipal land adjacent to the snow dump on Perth Road, also called Knox Farm.
  • End-uses for the biogas: Options to be considered include use of the renewable natural gas for electrical generation, heating, purifying for pipeline injection or vehicle fuel.
  • Adding organics to produce more biogas: The project also considers whether to include organic material as “feed” to enhance the production of biogas and whether to obtain material from an existing company or construct facilities to receive and prepare organics for processing.
  • Exploring options for managing biosolids: Currently, Utilities Kingston disposes of biosolids by applying dewatered solids to land. This provides a benefit to the agricultural community as the material is an organic fertilizer with beneficial micronutrients. The project will review the long-term viability of this program, while considering options for further drying the material to create a fertilizer or other end uses such as feedstock for cement kilns.

Following the public consultation, public input will be considered and reflected in the final report on the Master Plan, according to the City of Kington. The final report documentation is expected in the winter of 2020.

For more detailed information on the project from the City of Kingston and Utilities Kingston, click here. The Detailed Assessment Report on the Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan from Tetra Tech, click here.

2 thoughts on “City seeks input on proposed Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan

  • One minor correction to the story. The biogas currently produced at each of the plants is beneficially used. At Ravensview WWTP gas is used either in an electrical combined heat and power generation for use on the site or as fuel for a boiler to provide facility and process heat. At Cataraqui Bay WWTP gas generated is used in boilers for facility and process heat. Both facilities have flare stacks to burn the gas only when there is no need for process heat.

    • Thank you, Allen! I will update the article accordingly. -Tori

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