Council urged to hold off on bio-soilds moratorium

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CAO recommends further staff study

BY KIRK STARRATT Kings County Advertiser

Following a presentation last week, Kings County councillors were urged to hold off on a proposed moratorium on the application of bio-solids to farm fields in the municipality until staff has a chance to respond.

After hearing from Dr. Marilyn Cameron and Fred Blois from Nova Scotia Environmental Network (NSEN) at the September committee of the whole (COTW) session, councillor Dick Killam said he would like to see a moratorium established on the land application of bio-solids, treated human waste, in Kings.

Presenters asked council to consider upgrading the regional wastewater facility to produce a cleaner effluent and to include one of the technologies for appropriate sludge disposal. In the meantime, they asked council to enact an immediate moratorium on treated sewage sludge being applied to agricultural land in the county.

Chief Administrative Officer Brian Smith recommended council refer the matter to staff because there could be significant financial ramifications to upgrading the plant. He noted the county was going to do a study on bio-solids cost-shared with the federal Green Municipal Fund. However, council held off because the provincial Department of Environment will soon be announcing new guidelines.

Sewer sludge needs handling

The county land-applies its sewage sludge, but not within the municipality. Smith said the matter should be referred to staff before a moratorium is enacted. He pointed out that the municipality has to handle its own sludge and there is a significant quantity. Legal advice is needed, as well. “At least give us a chance to come back with a response to what you heard today,” he said.

Councillor Killam said he was prepared to defer the matter to the next COTW session for a staff report, but stated he is strongly against the land application of bio-solids and agrees the county’s plant must be updated. Smith said staff would prepare a report in response to the presentation. He added that terms of reference have already been established for a municipal bio-solids study.

Quebec option

Councillor Wayne Atwater said the county should ask representatives of Fabgroups of Quebec to come do a presentation on their plasma assisted sludge oxidation technology, explained by Cameron in her presentation. Smith agreed Fabgroups could come and make a presentation, but pointed out provincial environmental approval would be needed before the company could treat the county’s waste.

Cameron said the Quebec firm would take a regional approach and set-up a plant locally. Waste could be trucked there for treatment and this is something that could happen rather quickly. She said the company could scale a plant to the size required.

The company has received a $2 million grant from the National Research Council under the Opportunities Envelop to operate a plant in Valleyfield, Quebec, processing 32,000 wet tonnes of municipal waste sludge per year. The waste is converted to useful thermal energy while reducing the original mass of the sludge by 95 per cent by oxidizing it with a plasma torch.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Environmental Network, Green Municipal Fund, Department of Environment National Research Council

Geographic location: Kings, Quebec, Valleyfield

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