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County looking at partnering with nearby municipalities to burn non-recyclable waste

Article by Valerie MacDonald

Northumberland County’s Warden says he would support generating energy from waste if the incineration process is environmentally friendly and means non-recyclable materials don’t have to be buried.

In an interview, Bob Crate told the News Now Network “it would be a win/win situation”.

Such an opportunity is knocking at the County’s door. Northumberland County Council could get in on the ground floor of a potential waste-from-energy site that is being proposed near Havelock in Peterborough County.

Crate and members of Northumberland County’s Public Works Committee heard a presentation from Dr. Ray March of Trent University , Ed McLellan, an engineer, and Dr. Gordon Powell, now retired, during its first new committee meeting of the year.

“We have proposed that a Feasibility Committee be created with one member from each of the Five Counties (Northumberland, Peterborough, Prince Edward, Hastings and the City of Kawartha Lakes) supported and guided by an experienced environmental and waste management consultant from, for example, HDR Canada…,” states a section of presentation.

“The work of the Feasibility Committee should be completed within 12 months.”

Not only is the committee looking for participation from Northumberland but $160,000 to $200,000 to do this, Crate confirmed during the interview.

The Northumberland Public Works Committee has directed its own staff to evaluate this opportunity and report back to County Council in March.

Northumberland has looked into energy-from-waste at different times in the past when developing waste management plans. At one time, it looked at working with Durham Region but that site, the Durham/York Energy Centre, cannot take waste from outside its borders.

So the proposal to create a smaller facility to take the 160,000 metric tonnes of waste produced by the half-million people in the five-county area including Northumberland is now being looked. As with other municipalities and Counties, landfill space in which to bury garbage is running out

“Modern clean energy from facilities for controlled combustion constitutes a massive improvement over old-style incineration,” the delegation’s proposal also states.

“Controlled, multiple chemically-tailored combustion modes offer a very different and complex operation where temperature, gas composition, humidity, reactants and filtering are tuned to the specific nature of the material being combusted. The technology of clean energy from waste eliminates air pollutants.”

“In 2019, the Ontario Ministry of Energy Conservation and Parks, in a discussion paper, proposed that municipalities may send their wastes for thermal treatment after they have made reasonable efforts to separate all recyclable material.”

The proposed new waste from energy facility to serve the five counties could process “160,000 tonnes of non-recycled waste per year and (could) generates electricity at the same time.”

The group warns that if the new U.S. president agrees with the Governor of Michigan transporting Ontario waste to Michigan could be prohibited and that “the result may be that landfill sites in Ontario could be full in three years.” 

Crate says the proposed energy-from-waste site is owned by the Drain Brothers – and that for economies of scale, the participation of all five counties would be best, but perhaps not necessary for the project to proceed.

The establishment of a five-County committee would assist the group in obtaining funding for the project’s evaluation.

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