Alberta Residuals Guideline Consolidation

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Alberta Environment and Parks

Alberta has relied on the “Guidelines for the Application of Municipal Wastewater Sludges to Agricultural Lands” as well as similar guidelines for biomass ash, lime wastes, and pulp and paper sludge since 2001.  These guidelines have traditionally focused on the benefits that these materials can have for agriculture, but have given no guidance for alternative uses, like reclamation, soil mixing, or forest application.

While not novel approaches to biosolids management, the proposed guidelines beneficial residuals uses in the aforementioned “non-agricultural” options were new to Alberta. SYLVIS took a proactive approach to developing the projects by engaging Alberta Environment and Parks early in the development process of several alternative projects which provided baseline information to support the guidelines. 

SYLVIS also met with the Alberta Enviornment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) to introduce the concept of non-agricultural residuals management several years prior to the development of new guidelines, and solicited input from ESRD on project design.  Monitoring and research included evaluating the protection of soil and water resources, crop quality, and movement of mobile constituents following biosolids applications.  All the project information assisted in informing the new draft Guidelines.

SYLVIS incorporated research and monitoring into a total of seven operational-scale biosolids management projects.  SYLVIS also developed and validated best management practices for short-term (i.e. less than nine months) stockpiling of biosolids at land application sites prior to applications.  SYLVIS has demonstrated that non-agricultural biosolids management and short-term stockpiling can be conducted in a beneficial and environmentally protective manner, which has informed the draft Guidelines.  The information obtained from the projects was effectively used to support the development of the new draft Guidelines which will enable non-agricultural biosolids applications in Alberta.