Genesee Mine Reclamation Biosolids Demonstration
Biosolids are the stabilized solids generated by municipal wastewater treatment. Biosolids contain beneficial concentrations of organic matter and nutrients and have been land applied to productive agricultural fields in the Edmonton region for over 30 years as a fertilizer and soil amendment.
In 2008 SYLVIS began investigating land application options for biosolids produced in Edmonton. Recognizing a need for greater diversity in their biosolids management program, options were identified in marginal land improvement, mine reclamation and biomass production to augment the current program of liquid biosolids to agricultural land and biosolids composting with municipal solid waste. Capital Power Corporation’s Genesee Mine was selected as a project partner for demonstrating the beneficial use of biosolids in mine reclamation. The use of biosolids in mine reclamation has been conducted in other parts of Canada since the 1970’s; however, it is a new approach in the Alberta context. The objectives of the biosolids demonstration at the Genesee Mine were to demonstrate the environmentally beneficial and protective use of biosolids in mine reclamation and to evaluate the economic and logistical feasibility of biosolids management on an operational mine site. Investigating changes in soil fertility and site productivity as compared to conventional reclamation practices were objectives for consideration. Biosolids were applied to an approximately ten hectare area of the mine used for agricultural production in October 2010, as authorized by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD), in consultation with project partners and biosolids stakeholders.
Site monitoring data for two years following biosolids applications indicates the beneficial and environmentally protective use of biosolids on the Genesee Mine biosolids demonstration site. The successful development and implementation of the Genesee Mine biosolids demonstration provides the City of Edmonton with another management option for biosolids, commensurate with their goal of program diversification.