The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has released the Notice of Completion of the Review of the Durham/York Residual Waste Study Environmental Assessment – also known as the proposed energy-from-waste (EFW) facility.
The review documents the Ministry’s evaluation of the Environmental Assessment (EA) and takes into account comments received from the public during the initial EA comment period. Comments from government agencies and First Nations communities were also considered during the preparation of the ministry review.
“The regions have met the requirements outlined within the Environmental Assessment Act and the approved Terms of Reference,” said Regional Chair Roger Anderson. “We have always been considered as leaders in the field of waste management, but now we are innovators. We are one step closer to building Ontario’s first EFW facility in about 20 years.”
“The proposed thermal treatment facility will benefit the communities in the Regional Municipalities of Durham and York. The ministry is satisfied that the proposed mitigation methods and contingencies will ensure that any potential negative impacts will be minimized and managed,” the review said.
The Ministry’s review has determined that there is sufficient information in the EA to enable the Minister to make a decision on the undertaking and that the required components of the EAA and the approved ToR have been met.
At the end of the five-week review comment period, which will occur on April 2, 2010, MOE staff will make a recommendation concerning whether the EA has been prepared in accordance with the approved ToR, and the requirements of the EAA, and whether the proposed undertaking should be approved.
The undertaking as proposed would, if approved by the Minister, involve the development of an EFW facility that would be capable of processing post-diversion residual waste-the waste that remains after composting and recycling-and recovering materials and energy with an approved capacity of 140,000 tonnes per year. It is anticipated that during the 35-year planning period, the facility could be expanded up to a maximum capacity of 400,000 tonnes per year.
The expansion of this facility beyond the approved capacity of 140,000 tonnes per year would be subject to environmental screening requirements under Ontario Regulation 101/07, as amended, (or the applicable regulatory requirement at the time of expansion).
The proposed EFW facility would be located at the Clarington 01 site – a 12-hectare parcel, north of the Courtice Water Pollution Control Plant in the Municipality of Clarington, which is owned by the Regional Municipality of Durham.
“While the proposed EFW facility moves through the EA process, we still require the assistance of our residents to maintain one of the highest diversion rates in Ontario,” said Cliff Curtis, commissioner of works. “The proposed EFW facility is right-sized for our current requirements of 140,000 tonnes per year. Our integrated waste management strategy requires an even more aggressive waste diversion program moving forward.”
The EA documentation references thermal treatment – a high-temperature combustion technology – as the preferred method of dealing with Durham and York’s residual waste. Through this process, the waste is burned to create energy in the form of steam, electricity and heat. The primary purpose of the Durham/York facility, however, is to process the household waste (garbage) left over after Durham’s aggressive diversion efforts, such as recycling and composting.
Regional Councillor Charlie Trim, chair of the works committee, called it a “historic step.” He noted that, “we first began considering energy-from-waste options for Durham Region back in 1999 with the adoption of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy Plan.”
“This all began with a public advisory committee, tasked with finding a long-term waste management strategy that was environmentally and financially responsible,” said Regional Councillor Rick Johnson, vice-chair of the works committee. “We knew that community participation was key to the development of the waste plan that made us less reliant on landfill. And today, the plan we created, a group of 26 people-residents from across the region and politicians working together-is the best plan for handling the waste in the Region of Durham.”
The EA was submitted to the MOE in late July. It outlines the steps taken in the Durham/York Residual Waste Study. The study began in 2005, when Durham and York Regions started working together to examine ways to manage residual waste. Submission of the final EA documentation, to the MOE, could only occur after approval of both Durham and York Regional Councils, which was provided in late June.
The co-proponents will examine the Ministry’s review and issue a news release outlining the details of the procedural and technical issues.
For more information on the Durham/York Residual Waste Study visit
http://www.durhamyorkwaste.ca/, call 905-307-8628 (or toll-free at
1-866-398-4423), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.