Utilities Kingston to hold public drop-in session on potential biosolids/biogas facility

An aerial view of a biogas plant in Grasleben, Germany. Photo by Julia Koblitz.

Utilities Kingston and the City of Kingston are currently exploring the feasibility of opening and operating a biosolids and biogas facility and will be hosting a public drop-in session in the coming weeks on the matter.

According to a press release from the City, the project, which is referred to as the Kingston Regional Biosolids and Biogas Facility project, is now proceeding into Step 2 of exploring the possibility of Kingston being home to an “integrated biosolids and source-separated organics processing facility. That facility, according to the City, would be built on the City-owned property known as Knox Farm, located on the west side of Perth Road, north of Highway 401.

The project was “triggered by the need to expand solids treatment infrastructure at the Cataraqui Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant and the desire to investigate innovative solutions that reduce the environmental impact of delivering utility services,” the City said in a press release on Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2023. According to the City, Step 1 of the project was completed in January 2023 – and included the review of the Master Plan and a suitability assessment of the Knox Farm property, and identified “no major barriers” with the location.

In fact, the City of Kingston and Utilities Kingston have been exploring this project and others like it since 2012. More recently, Utilities Kingston explored the Biosolids and Biogas Master Plan, receiving public input on the concept in January 2020.

Now, the City and Utilities Kingston will host a drop-in session on the possible biosolids and biogas facility at its main office – 85 Lappan’s Lane – on Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2023, from 4 to 8 p.m.

“Managing sludge and other organic wastes to produce renewable end products is expected to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions from operations, helping Utilities Kingston and the City of Kingston to become carbon neutral by 2040,” Heather Roberts, Director of Water and Wastewater Operations for Utilities Kingston, said in a statement.

According to the City, the facility would process organic waste from multiple sources. This would include sludge – a product of wastewater treatment – from both the Ravensview and Cataraqui Bay Wastewater Treatment Plants, as well as the City’s Green Bin composting program, and “potentially other local and regional providers.”

“After treatment, these organic wastes would create two sources of renewables: biogas (an environmentally friendly, renewable energy source produced by the breakdown of organic matter) and digestate (the liquids and solids produced from processing organic materials),” the press release states.

The upcoming drop-in session will serve to allow the public to learn more about the project and the results of the preliminary assessment of the Knox Farm property.

The Knox Farm property, marked here with a purple star, is located north of Highway 401 on the west side of Perth Road. Graphic via Kingston Regional Biosolids and Biogas Facility plan documents/Utilities Kingston.

The City and Utilities Kingston report that Step 3 of the project will begin in the summer of 2023, and will “formally initiate the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process to develop and evaluate alternative design concepts for the facility. After investigating a business plan, Utilities Kingston plans to make a recommendation to Kingston City Council regarding the facility by the end of 2024.

Those wanted to attend the drop-in session from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2023, are asked to enter the Utilities Kingston main offices through the front, south-facing entrance. Parking for those attending is available at the front and back of the 85 Lappan’s Lane building.

More information about the history and future of the Kingston Regional Biosolids and Biogas Facility project can be found on the Utilities Kingston website.

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