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Water and Waste Department

Potential options for managing our biosolids

We value your feedback. You can help us shape the future of biosolids management. You can see the public meeting presentation online here.

Please rate the first three options below to share your thoughts

Option Land Application Thermal Oxidation Pelletization Composting Land Revitalization/Restoration Landfill
Description Apply biosolids to land in either a liquid or wet cake form to either condition the soil or to fertilize crops or other vegetation grown in the soil Firing biosolids at a high temperature in an enclosed device to produce heat and energy Involves heat drying technology, which:
  • removes water to reduce volume and weight
  • preserves nutrients and organic matter
  • produces pea-sized pellets
Pellets can be:
  • used as fertilizer or biofuel
  • directly applied or mixed to create fertilizer
Mix biosolids with woodchips and air to make compost Apply biosolids to land to replace lost topsoil (e.g., landfill cover, large construction sites, surface strip mines, parks and road cuts, wetlands, wildlife habitat, conservation areas)
  • improves soil fertility and stability
  • decreases erosion
  • aids in revegetation
Mix biosolids with municipal garbage and dispose in landfill
Operational Factors Requires storage / another treatment option during the winter months because of seasonal spreading restrictions (not from November 10 - April 10) Restrictions for spreading rates of nutrients (i.e., phosphorous and nitrogen)
  • Requires air pollution control
  • Smaller land, storage and transportation requirements
  • Can operate continuously in all weather conditions
  • Dust is a workplace safety issue (e.g., health, hazardous)
  • Pellets small and easy to handle
Compost must:
  • have sufficiently low metals
  • be used off-site
Requires access to receiving land Receiving landfill must have sufficient capacity for year-round disposal
Time to implement Medium term Long term Long term Long term - for a program to compost the majority of our biosolids (pilot program currently underway to compost 20% of biosolids) Short term Short term
Regional suitability
  • Weather and soil dependant
  • Potential for soil conditions to meet regulatory requirements
The business case for heat and energy recovery is more difficult to make due to low energy costs in Manitoba
  • Requires a sustainable market for pellets (decreasing demand in North America)
  • Considered where other options are expensive or not approved by the regulator (e.g., landfilling, thermal oxidation, land application)
Strong demand as soil amendment Limited sites available in Manitoba
  • Available capacity at Brady Resource Management Facility (landfill) - greater than 100 years
  • Brady has favourable conditions for co-disposal (i.e., clay layer highly impervious to contaminants leaching into groundwater)
Stakeholders involved
  • Opportunity for private agricultural sector(e.g., grain farmers, sod farmers)
  • Rural municipalities where biosolids applied to land
  • Residents neighbouring the receiving lands
  • Opportunity for private contractors to haul and land apply
  • Manitoba Hydro
  • End user of ash
  • Opportunity for public / private operation and ash disposal
  • Opportunity for private sector
  • Residents near pelletizing facility
Opportunity for public and private sector (operate/distribute) Residents close to receiving land Opportunity for public and private (hauling and spreading) Opportunity for public and private contractors
Regulation Provincially regulated
  • Meet regulatory requirements for air emissions
  • Provincially regulated
Regulations for odour control strategy and fertilizer products (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) Provincially regulated Provincially regulated Provincially regulated
Good neighbour practice Potential for odour concerns with storage (particularly with lagoons for liquid biosolids) Potential for concern about location Potential for nuisance odours Potential for nuisance odours Potential for nuisance odours Potential for nuisance odours
Ecological sustainability
  • Considered sustainable reuse
  • Ensure viable hauling distance (e.g., cost, carbon footprint)
  • Benefit to farmers of receiving lands
Considered sustainable reuse if:
  • ash is beneficially reused (e.g., filler in cement and brick manufacturing, sub-base for road construction, landfill cover)
  • heat and energy is recovered
Considered sustainable reuse Considered sustainable reuse Beneficial reuse of nutrients
  • Not considered sustainable reuse
  • Contributes to harmful greenhouse gases
  • Decreases landfill capacity
Cost $$ $$ $$ $$$ $ - $$$ (depends on the degree of pre-treatment) $
Last update: November 9, 2018