Solid Waste & Recycling Magazine


Covanta energy project on track for 2014

Durham York and Covanta Energy are well on their way to reaching their 2014 goal to have the cleanest and most efficient waste-to-energy facility on the continent.

Durham York and Covanta Energy are well on their way to reaching their 2014 goal to have the cleanest and most efficient waste-to-energy facility on the continent.

Covanta recently invited media on a hard hat tour of the build site for the Durham York Energy Centre in the Clarington Energy Park in Clarington, Ontario.

The $272-million facility is expected to process up to 140,000 tonnes of post recycled waste per year and generate enough renewable electricity to power between 12,000 and 14,000 homes, Covanta says.

The energy centre will also help Durham Region achieve their waste diversion target of 70 per cent.

The facility will create nearly 700 direct and indirect jobs during construction and more than 40 permanent plant operator jobs when the facility comes online late 2014.

The energy centre is designed by Toronto-based McMillan Associates Architects.

It was Durham’s decision in 1999 not to open new landfill sites in the region.

The Energy-from-Waste facility will be the cleanest and most efficient facility of its kind in North America.

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4 Comments » for Covanta energy project on track for 2014
  1. Jim Travers says:

    Unfortunately for the people downwind of Durham, there is no technology capable of filtering the ultra-fine particulates this state-of-the-art waste incinerator will be releasing by the ton daily. These are the most dangerous of particulates because they are so very tiny, a few millionths of an meter in size, and they lodge deep into our and our children’s lungs.

    Even an incinerator with such state of the art air pollution controls cannot remove all of the dioxins created when waste is burned and so, the populace will also be exposed to these deadly Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins. There is no safe human exposure level for dioxins. So dangerous are dioxins, they are measured in parts per trillion, while other particulates are normally measured in parts per million (per cubic meter of air).

    The US Environmental Protection Agency has determined recycling saves 4 to 5 times the energy burning these products create.

    And then there’s the toxic ash incineration creates, the bottom ash and the fly ash. And what happens to all of the highly toxic materials and heavy metals collected by the incinerator’s air pollution control devices?

    This might wind up being the cleanest incinerator on earth, but by no stretch of one’s imagination can burning waste be considered “clean.”

    All thermal treatment of waste is highly polluting, no matter what their proponents say. There is ample science available proving this and the harm their pollutants cause.

    Sad, really, that with what we know today about our contributions to our changing climate, that Durham would choose such a foolish, wasteful, expensive and polluting technology to invest in.

  2. Paul-Andr says:

    We have here another fine example of spinning the facts and making gratuitous assertions that are totally at odds with the actual reality, as well as with the performance of the promoter in other jurisdictions.

    In particular, could the author of this biased reporting explain how burning material “will also help Durham Region achieve their waste diversion target of 70 per cent”?

    Moreover, it talks about the number of permanent plant jobs created at the plant, yet it conveniently omits to mention the number of indirect “jobs” that this will create in the Health Care Industry.

    Such baseless articles are certainly not reflecting positively on the industry as a whole and on its proponents.

  3. Monica Wilson says:

    What a shame that the Durham government bought Covanta’s PR. Hopefully they’ve done their due diligence to closely examine Covanta’s record of serious emissions problems in the U.S., some of which have been so serious that the Connecticut Attorney General pursued legal action. Covanta paid $400,000 to settle with the state.

    Covanta’s ash management practices have come under serious scrutiny in California. Here’s a quote from a July 2012 newspaper article ( “Last December the Butte County District Attorney

  4. Eric Lombardi says:

    Being the the cleanest and most efficient facility “of its kind” does not mean that “its kind” is clean or efficient. Should we be happy that trash burning facilities are getting cleaner and more efficient? Yes, but we’d be happier if they just went the way of the dinosaur, which they probably will because the large WTE facilities are also going to run out of food as the resource value of discarded materials continue their 30-year escalation in market value. Who is going to burn material that is worth over $200-400/ton in the near future? No one, and any community that buys into the Covanta vision of the future is going to be sorry they did.

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