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Update coming to AD facility

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Regional council is set to be given  their options regarding an anaerobic digester at this month’s committee of the whole meeting.

Staff will be making recommendations to council regarding project implementation, the service delivery method, and potential business partners, among other details.

The development of an anaerobic digester in Durham Region is a longstanding issue as regional council has searched for methods to help the environment and to fight climate change.

Gio Anello, the region’s manager of waste planning and technical services, told The Oshawa Express staff are also looking for approval to receive the resources for a mixed-waste transfer and pre-sort organics processing service because “it basically allows us to increase our diversion to around 70 per cent.”

The project is expected to come with a hefty price, as Anello said cost estimates were approximately $165 million last year. An updated financial outlook will be part of the staff report this month.

He says moving forward, the region has to deal with more waste as Durham grows, and they also know there needs to be a plan in place for taking care of organics.

Explaining how anaerobic digestion works, Anello said, “Basically the way it works is you take all of this material, you macerate it into a slurry or a liquid, it goes into a tank, in that tank it basically ferments, so there’s a lot of biological activity, without any oxygen there it creates a methane, and that methane then can be cleaned up to become a [biogas].”

He says what they are doing is taking green bin organics, putting it through the anaerobic digester, and creating a “biofuel” and a fertilizer for agricultural use.

“It’s better for the environment, and it’s good for climate change. Basically you’re creating a fuel that offsets other fuels,” says Anello.

He explains once it starts moving forward, the region is hoping to have the anaerobic digester facility built within 36 months.

“So we have to go through a procurement process, and once we’ve selected a company to implement it, it should take about three years,” says Anello.

The location of the digester has yet to be confirmed, as Anello explains with the gas they are creating, the facility would need to be close to a pipeline so it can be directly injected into it.  In September, the region will provide potential bidders with the option to locate on a specific site or allow them to submit suggestions.