Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan

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The goal of the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan is to ensure the City’s wastewater (everything flushed down your sinks, drains, and toilets) is managed in a way that is sustainable, protects our waterways and the environment. The Master Plan is the City's long-term plan that will look at how the City is currently managing Guelph's wastewater and how we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph's growing population now until 2051.

The master plan will consider:

  • Advances in treatment technologies.
  • Changes in wastewater treatment plant infrastructure needs and legislation.
  • Sustainable and cost efficient wastewater treatment concepts that mitigate climate change and contribute to reaching the City’s goal of using 100 per cent renewable energy sources by 2050.
  • Guelph’s growing population and it’s impact on the wastewater treatment process and Speed River’s capacity.
  • How it will contribute to achieving the strategic priorities set out through the City’s Strategic Plan.

At the first virtual open house and online survey, the City presented and discussed what challenges Guelph is facing with regards to the wastewater treatment facility, proposed options for addressing challenges and what evaluation criteria will be used when making final decisions.

After hearing from Guelph residents and through careful assessment, the City is ready to present options for addressing Guelph’s wastewater challenges and wants further input. Here’s how you can get involved and help shape the Master Plan:

  • Visit the second virtual open house : attend the virtual open house to learn what the Master Plan aims to do, what challenges the City is facing and how it impacts you and the rest of our community.
  • Take the online surveys: answer survey questions by (June 11) to share your feedback and ideas.

The goal of the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan is to ensure the City’s wastewater (everything flushed down your sinks, drains, and toilets) is managed in a way that is sustainable, protects our waterways and the environment. The Master Plan is the City's long-term plan that will look at how the City is currently managing Guelph's wastewater and how we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph's growing population now until 2051.

The master plan will consider:

  • Advances in treatment technologies.
  • Changes in wastewater treatment plant infrastructure needs and legislation.
  • Sustainable and cost efficient wastewater treatment concepts that mitigate climate change and contribute to reaching the City’s goal of using 100 per cent renewable energy sources by 2050.
  • Guelph’s growing population and it’s impact on the wastewater treatment process and Speed River’s capacity.
  • How it will contribute to achieving the strategic priorities set out through the City’s Strategic Plan.

At the first virtual open house and online survey, the City presented and discussed what challenges Guelph is facing with regards to the wastewater treatment facility, proposed options for addressing challenges and what evaluation criteria will be used when making final decisions.

After hearing from Guelph residents and through careful assessment, the City is ready to present options for addressing Guelph’s wastewater challenges and wants further input. Here’s how you can get involved and help shape the Master Plan:

  • Visit the second virtual open house : attend the virtual open house to learn what the Master Plan aims to do, what challenges the City is facing and how it impacts you and the rest of our community.
  • Take the online surveys: answer survey questions by (June 11) to share your feedback and ideas.

Q&A

Thank you for your interest in the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan.  We invite you to learn more by visiting the project page and viewing FAQs.  Please provide your questions and we will aim to have answers in five business days,  

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    Do like the concept of community engagement with regard to issues pertaining to Guelph. Elders would most likely contribute a great deal but many are not computer literate. Possible to engage local newspaper to explain this issue?

    3 months ago

    Newspaper advertisements have been used to notify the public of Project Initiation and both Public Open Houses and will be used to notify the public of Project Completion. Our engagement efforts have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have been offered entirely online however our project team is happy to provide informaiton and have discussion with members of the public who do not have access to, or comfort with, computers.

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    Investigate removal of microplastics from water using ferrofluids/magnets

    3 months ago

    Microplastic removal with ferrofluids/magnets was not investigated as part of this Master Plan, as the focus for wastewater treatment technologies was on those that have full-scale installations at municipal wastewater treatment plants. However, if this technology becomes more prevalent in wastewater treatment in the future, it could be investigated during future Master Plan updates.

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    The money being used to expand this facility will be Guelph Tax dollars. I am sure most people will be happy that the treatment plant is being expanded to handle a larger volume capacity. However, if this presentation was presented to the tax payers with all the options on the table - I am sure Guelph Tax payers would vote for a renewable energy option.

    3 months ago

    Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas generation projections were developed for each alternative and considered in the evaluation. Alternatives that are more energy efficient and minimize greenhouse gas emissions receive higher scores. We are proud to let the peope in Guelph know that some components of the preferred solution are projected to have a net positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions in the City.

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    Perhaps additional details about the eliminated long-list options, descriptions of the alternatives, costs, etc. could have been provided in a "handout"/ additional details link. Curious what additional First Nations engagement has been completed.

    3 months ago

    Regarding First Nations engagement, the team has been engaged with impacted Indigenous and First Nations communities throughout the project, as required for the Class EA process. The City is in the process of building relationships with First Nations and Indigenous groups with the goal of conducting meaningful engagement on projects such as this one.

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    show on the survey how many have already taken it. other wise how would I know if anyone else was engaged?

    3 months ago

    Our question was intended to get feedback about how the process was for you as a participant. We appreciate that you might want to know more about our engagement analytics too. This information will be presented in the public open house report, as part of the Master Plan. The report provides detailed information on the number of people who visited the web page and who completed the survey. All responses to comments are located on www.haveyoursay.guelph.ca.

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    Not enough focus on environmental concerns

    3 months ago

    Environmental impacts will be clearly outlined in the Master Plan report, which will be available for public review.

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    If there was an anaerobic digestor on site less biosolid waste storage would be required and odor control would not been needed, since the biosolids would ferment in the digestor and thus would not have an odor.

    3 months ago

    The Guelph WWTP currently has 4 anaerobic digesters onsite that are used for sludge stabilization, producing biosolids. The odour control facility is mainly to mitigate any potential odours from the new integrated primary sludge and WAS thickening facility and from the new dewatering facility.

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    for someone that is not in waste water treatment the presentation used language that most people are unfamiliar with. The only reason I kind of knew what was being presented was because of the Magic School Bus.

    3 months ago

    Thank you for the feedback. That is one of our favourite episodes of Magic School Bus. We will work to make future materials as clear as possible. If you have any questions, please reach out to the project team for further discussion.

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    Options for storage and odour control were unclear

    3 months ago

    Thank you for this feedback. To be clear, biosolids storage was selected to provide operational flexibility at the Guelph WWTP during the winter months when land application of the Lystek product is not possible. Odour control was included as a component to mitigate any potential odour impacts from the new solids handling.

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    I'm glad to see that this does not include plans for co-digestion of SSO or industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) food waste feedstocks at the WWTP. While notionally it sounds great to co-digest SSO or food waste at the WWTP, and to use our local resources to achieve our own net zero targets, in the case of a WWTP it needs to be approached cautiously and assessed on a full cost assessment basis compared to alternatives. Currently, and with new upcoming regulatory changes, commercial anaerobic digesters or farm-based digesters can accept food waste and SSO at relatively low tipping fee costs. The digestate can be land-applied as a liquid nutrient, or perhaps as a simply dewatered cake without expensive post-digestion treatment to produce a fertilizer product. Whereas, when codigestion with sewage occurs at a WWTP, the requirements within the City for odour control, for digestion suited to sewage solids, for post-digestion further treatment, for dewatering and pelletization, for creating a product that has the perceived down-sides of a sewage biosolid, and then for proper storage off-site, and ultimately use as a land-applied nutrient, likely result in significant added cost for taxpayers. It also still results in discharge of some nutrient-containing liquids to the Speed River. While the City does control our own SSO feedstock stream, putting the City in a position where it competes with other players in the digester market for other food-based feedstocks is tricky, as the City likely does not have the nimbleness or business framework to compete effectively with other digester developers pursuing lucrative Renewable Natural Gas markets. All of that likely adds up to an over-priced codigestion project that notionally meets net zero goals, but needs a hard look to ensure it pencils out and is actually achievable in the future marketplace. Perhaps, with lots of life left in our compost facility, it's probably not a conversation for today. But I encourage strong caution as we see other municipalities trying to go that pathway. That pathway is not one to be the leader on, as it has some inherent economical red-flags.

    3 months ago

    The potential for co-digestion of source separated organics (SSOs) using the existing anaerobic digesters at the Guelph WWTP was investigated but as you have mentioned, it is not seen as an economically viable option at this time. These opportunities will continue to be monitored during future Master Plans, but co-digestion of SSOs is not being recommended of this Master Plan's preferred solution.

Page last updated: 22 October 2021, 08:07