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Media Releases

August 2, 2013

Private sector firms invited to submit a proposal for biosolids reuse

Exploring new opportunities to build a cost-effective, sustainable future for Winnipeg's biosolids

Released: 8:37 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB - The Public Service is issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest and Qualifications today to gauge the interest of private sector firms in the beneficial reuse of biosolids. The City of Winnipeg is required by the Province to submit a Biosolids Master Plan by October 2, 2014.

The Request for Expressions of Interest and Qualifications is a critical step in developing a Biosolids Master Plan, which will allow the City to manage its biosolids in an environmentally sound, sustainable and cost-effective manner to the year 2037, while meeting Provincial regulations. An effective biosolids management program must address many diverse technical, economic, social, and environmental challenges.

Biosolids are the nutrient-rich end-product of sewage treatment. The City’s three sewage treatment plants produced about 13,500 dry tonnes of biosolids in 2012. This is expected to increase to 23,000 dry tonnes by 2037.

“An important part of developing our Master Plan is understanding as much as possible if there are long-term, sustainable markets for the product. Our goal is to develop a plan that demonstrates our commitment to environmental stewardship and regulatory compliance,” said Geoffrey Patton, Manager of Engineering Services with the City’s Water and Waste Department.

Biosolids pose a management and end-use challenge to every community in the developed world. In Canada, production, transport, use (including beneficial use) and disposal of biosolids are regulated on a provincial/territorial basis.

Since 1990, the City’s WinGRO Program would deliver, spread and incorporate a portion of the biosolids to agricultural land at no cost to landowners. The Province enacted new nutrient regulations as a result of concerns about nutrient overloading in Lake Winnipeg.M

Since January 1, 2011, biosolids have been landfilled at the Brady Road Resource Management Facility.

In the meantime, the City has been moving forward on a plan to manage biosolids.

  • Preparing a letter of intent to submit to the Province to resume applying biosolids to the land.
  • Proceeding with a $7 million two-year pilot program to compost biosolids at the Brady Road Resource Management Facility, which will be able to compost 20% of the biosolids.  Composting biosolids produces a stable end product high in organic matter which can be used as a soil amendment.  Depending on the results of the pilot, the composting option could be a long term solution for dealing with all or part of Winnipeg’s biosolids.

This Request for Expressions of Interest and Qualifications is unique in that it is the first time the Public Service has formally explored options for biosolids other than applying to agricultural land.

A variety of management options for biosolids are in use in Canada. The options are established by the quality and quantity of the biosolids, and include land application, pelletization for use as a fertilizer, incorporation into cement and brick manufacturing, and landfilling.

The deadline for the Request for Expressions of Interest and Qualifications is the end of September. The responses will be evaluated and then a list of possible options will be presented to the public for comment in early 2014, before developing a Biosolids Master Plan to submit to the Province by the deadline.

More information on the Biosolids Master Plan and the Request for Expressions of Interest and Qualifications is available on the City’s website.

Last update: 02.08.2013

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