DAILY NEWS Oct 29, 2012 12:12 PM - 4 comments

Covanta energy project on track for 2014

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By: SWR Staff
October 29, 2012 2012-10-29

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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Reader Comments

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Eric Lombardi

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.

Posted October 31, 2012 05:25 PM


Monica Wilson

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 (http://bit.ly/Sd5Esv): "Last December the Butte County District Attorney’s Office was alerted to a huge pile of fly ash, some 19,000 tons of the stuff, sitting on property off Hicks Lane in North Chico. The ash, reported by a local citizen, was traced to the Covanta Energy-owned Pacific Oroville Power Inc. facility...While the ash does not reach the definition of hazardous, results do show dangerously elevated levels of dioxins and metals." In October 2012, Covanta announced that the facility would be shut down, but serious questions remain about cleaning up the ash problem created by Covanta.

Not what I'd call a stellar track record. But let's get real -- there are serious and persistent consequences inherent to burning waste with any technology.

Posted October 31, 2012 02:20 PM


Paul-André Larose

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.

Posted October 31, 2012 09:40 AM


Jim Travers

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.

Posted October 31, 2012 01:00 AM


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