Biosolids considered for fuel at LaFarge plant in Richmond

LaFarge plans to burn pellets made from biosolids – human waste– originating from Vancouver Island, at its Richmond plant.

The biosolids are recovered from wastewater treatment process and burn at a high heat.

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The plant in east Richmond is expected to receive 3,500 tonnes of biosolid pellets per year for fuel – replacing coal or natural gas. This, however, would only comprise one per cent of their fuel needs.

The LaFarge plan will be a test run to see what can be done in Metro Vancouver, said Coun. Harold Steves, and the topic has come up at different regional committees.

Steves said he is concerned about world-wide soil depletion “largely because human waste is not returned to the land.” He said he’s suggested trying to get rid of chemicals and hormones from the waste so that it could be used as fertilizer on farmland.

Furthermore, it could be used in forests where trees have been removed to replenish nutrients, Steves said.

The LaFarge biosolids project will be managed by Metro Vancouver but Richmond council was asked to endorse staff’s comments on the project.

Coun. Bill McNulty asked staff whether there were guarantees that no odour would float down the Fraser River to Garry Point Park – Chad Paulin, manager of the environment with the city, said that is the target.

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