Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has granted Lafarge Canada to burn scrap tires and other municipal waste at its cement manufacturing plant in Bath, Ontario.
Strict conditions will be part of two certificates of approval that will be granted under the Environmental Protection Act to Lafarge Canada, allowing it to replace about 30 per cent of the fuel it currently uses at its Bath plant through a gradual phasing-in of used tires and other municipal wastes.
In a pilot project, Lafarge will be allowed to burn these wastes under strictly controlled conditions in order to confirm that the process can safely meet Ontario’s stringent air emission standards. It will burn tires in gradually increasing amounts in three demonstration stages over a period of two years. Only if emissions levels meet the ministry’s standards can Lafarge then proceed to the next stage.
The conditions set out in Lafarge’s air certificate of approval include:
— Rigorous third party oversight: The demonstration phase of the project will include an independent third party technical review of the facility’s performance testing on behalf of a community liaison committee. Lafarge’s emissions results will also be reviewed by the ministry.
— An open and transparent process: The company is required to continuously monitor emissions. Lafarge has also agreed to display its continuous monitoring in a public place. The community liaison committee will review the results.
— Strict standard: The facility will have to meet strict air emission limits based on Ontario’s rigorous A7 air guideline. These standards are more stringent than either the European Union or the US Environmental Protection Act limits. Lafarge will also have to achieve even lower limits for lead and cadmium.
— Success criteria: If, as a result of the demonstration phase, Lafarge has demonstrated to the ministry’s satisfaction that the technology has met the required emissions standards at each level of testing, the Bath plant will be allowed to continue, subject to routine performance testing and continuous emission monitoring. Under its waste certificate of approval, Lafarge has committed to ensuring that the wastes received at the site are either not recyclable due to their properties or are surplus to the capacity of Ontario recycling markets, and must provide the ministry with an annual detailed assessment of the efforts the company has taken to restrict the receipt and use of potentially recyclable material.
Though no facility in Ontario currently uses tires as an alternative fuel, in a further development, Environment Minister Laurel Broten is also proposing to call a temporary halt to the burning of tires for a period of two years. This halt will give ministry scientists and experts the opportunity to ensure the environmental performance of facilities that convert tires to energy. If the results are not complete, the halt can be extended to three years. Alternative fuels, including tires, have been used for many years in safe, proven processes to make cement in Quebec as well as such jurisdictions as Sweden, Germany, and California.
The plan for a proposed suspension on the burning of used tires has been posted on the Environmental Registry for a 45-day public comment period. It is available at www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/ebr/english/index.htm
Contact 416-325-4000 or 1-800-565-4923, www.ene.gov.on.ca