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Interest grows in Durham digestor plans

39 companies interested in region’s organics management business

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Nearly 40 companies have expressed interest in the region’s request for information regarding future options for an organics materials management plan, although how many ultimately bid remains to be seen.

As reported earlier in The Oshawa Express, regional council approved the RFI last summer and approved a contract, not to exceed $300,000, with consultant GHD Ltd. to assist with the process.

The region’s current organics management contracts expire in 2019.

According to the official RFI document on the region’s website, it will serve “as a pre-cursor to a 2018 Request for Proposals (RFP) necessary to both optimize the region’s integrated waste management system and expand organics diversion away from disposal.”

The main objective of the RFI is “the receipt and investigation of viable options for implementation of a long-term organics management plan and seeks information on cost-effective, proven and innovative technologies and commercial arrangements and/or potential business relationships that could potentially assist the region.”

Since the RFI was issued on Dec. 4, 2017, there has been 39 companies who have shown interest in the project but will not necessarily bid.

Companies located in Durham Region are Pickering-based GFL Environmental Corp. and Newcastle’s CCI BioEnergy Inc.

Enbridge and Veridian are interested, as both companies previously delegated to regional council in March 2017 with potential plans for an anaerobic digester and associated pre-sort facility in Durham Region.
However, at that time, commissioner of works Susan Siopis noted there had been no formal negotiations between the region and either company.

The submission deadline for the RFI is Feb. 1.

The Ontario government’s anticipated Provincial Organics Action Plan, which is being developed within the Waste Free Ontario Act of 2016, calls for a potential ban on organics waste in landfills by 2022.

Michael Cant, principal of solid waste for GHD Ltd., told council in July 2017 the region’s “existing organics management facility is at capacity” and would not be prepared to deal with the consequences of such a ban.

“It does now allow for additional processing, does not allow any increase in the diversion rate and does not extend capacity at the Durham-York Energy Centre,” Cant said.

There are several actions the region could potentially take to deal with an organics ban, but Cant warned, “all options will involve a significant capital expense and increased operating costs.”

According to Jim Clapp, the region’s commissioner of finance, depending on the chosen direction, projected capital costs for a new organics waste facility could range from $170 million to $210 million, while operating costs could also increase $31 million to $33 million from the status quo.

In quoting these figures, Clapp called them “preliminary” numbers that could change depending on information received through the RFI.

Information from the RFI will be integrated into a final business case for a potential anaerobic digester facility in Durham, expected to be delivered in the first quarter of this year.