December 10, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – All sewage treatment centres produce biosolids. The question for the City of Kamloops is what to do with them.
The city’s new sewage treatment centre opened March 2015 and not only does it processes its biosolids differently than before, but it also produces more.
Public works director Jen Fretz says the city is in the process of researching the best solution to the biosolid question.
Kamloops used to compost biosolids at the city’s yard waste site Cinnamon Ridge to then be used in parks, but with the new treatment centre the variables have changed.
“If we were dealing with the same old stuff it would not be as difficult because we’d know what we have, we’d know how many tonnes of biosolids we were going to produce. It’s kind of a known quantity,” Fretz says.
Every water and solid mix that goes down the drain or the toilet ends up in the sewer. Fretz says the solids separated from the water are biosolids. The water is treated and pumped into the river, but the solids remain behind.
She says there are a variety of ways to treat biosolids.
If the biosolids meet a certain criteria from a testing perspective, they can used as something called a land application. They undergo a certain process and can be used on agricultural fields. Biosolids can also be mixed with green waste and organics, and composted. That's what the city had been doing.
Another process is called gasificiation, or what Fretz described as a biosolid pressure cooker. It’s not burning, but a very high pressure and high heat process.
“I think we need to look bigger. We’ve really kind of narrowed it down right now to two options (land application and composting) but to me we need to look at all the potential options. We haven’t looked at gasification, we haven’t some of those super leading edge technology type of things,” Fretz explains.
“Because the costs are going to be significant one way or another, I just want to make sure that we have all the possible options considered before we take something forward,” she says, adding the different options range from $1.5 million to $17 million.
Fretz hopes to bring a recommendation before city council in the fall of 2016 so it can be part of the 2017 budget.
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