Assessment of Options for Biosolids

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Regional District of Nanaimo

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) operates two principal wastewater treatment facilities that produce biosolids, the French Creek Pollution Control Center (FCPCC) and the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Center (GNPCC).  The RDN currently manages 100% of its biosolids by land application to a research woodlot operation leased by Vancouver Island University, where the biosolids serve to enhance tree growth.  This program is managed by SYLVIS and has been an effective strategy for managing the RDN biosolids.  However the RDN lacked alternative biosolids management opportunities should circumstances change. 

SYLVIS was contracted by the RDN to produce a Biosolids Management Strategy Review to provide a better understanding of readily achievable alternative management options available to the RDN for biosolids management.  This review summarized the RDN’s biosolids production process, the quality and quantity of the biosolids produced, common management practices used in British Columbia, and regulatory considerations specific to biosolids produced by the RDN.  The review also identified specific alternative management options near Nanaimo with greatest potential for immediate development, with consideration to the logistics, feasibility and specific biosolids quality and quantity considerations attached to each. These options were developed with information provided by the RDN, through consultation with parties interested in biosolids management, inspection by SYLVIS of potential project sites, and SYLVIS’s internal residuals management experience, locally and globally.

SYLVIS identified two management options with high likelihood for development:  Utilization for fertilization of privately owned managed timberland, and use for reclamation of land degraded by mining activities. Several potential partners with suitable application sites near Nanaimo were identified for future contact and consultation.

SYLVIS provided the RDN with critical information on potential alternative options for biosolids management.  The information will serve as a contingency to the current biosolids forest fertilization program.