Waste-Free Ontario

In June 2016, the Ontario Government passed the New Waste-Free Ontario Act. This new legislation hopes to create “a circular economy where we have zero waste and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector and where all resources, organic or non-organic, are used and reused productively to maximize the reintegration of recovered materials back into the economy”1

The historic linear thought of “produce-use-dispose” is harmful to the environment, financially risky, and not sustainable. Every year, approximately $1 billion worth of recoverable materials are lost to landfills across Canada.2 In 2013 alone, Ontario generated nearly 12 million tonnes of waste, which is the equivalent of almost a tonne of waste per Ontario resident each year.3

Organic waste is a particular problem because when it is landfilled it breaks down and emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more harmful to our climate than carbon.4  If Ontario’s organic waste diversion rate is increased by 10%, we could avoid emitting nearly 275,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.5

And yet, one particular organic waste, nutrient rich biosolids, is still being landfilled across Ontario. Each Ontario household creates approximately 1.2m3 of biosolids per year.6 And as populations across Ontario continue to increase, the amount of biosolids produced is going to continue to increase. Landfill space in Ontario is precious. There is a continuing landfill capacity deficit in Ontario, which means we have to export a significant amount of our waste to foreign landfills.7 So why are we still wasting landfill space on a material when it can be beneficially reused?

Land application of municipal biosolids is a sustainable way to not only reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfills, but also as a way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and to provide essential micro and macro nutrients to agricultural soil across Ontario. Land application closes the circular loop outlined in the Waste-Free Ontario Act. Instead of biosolids being wasted and sent to landfill, they can be reused on agriculture fields as a very valuable source of nutrients.

  1. Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
  2. Natural Resources Canada, 2006.
  3. Based on data from Waste Diversion Ontario, 2013; Residential GAP Diversion Rates, and Statistics Canada, Waste Management Industry Survey 2012.
  4. Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
  5. Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
  6. Water Environment Association of Ontario.
  7. Ontario Waste Management Association, 2015

Three Key Benefits of Solid Capturing

The process of solids capture is a cornerstone of waste management productivity for innumerable reasons. Some people within the agricultural and environmental industries may already be aware of capturing solids and its various advantages. For those that do not know, solid capturing or dewatering is essentially the process of wastewater being divided into its liquid and solid constituents. In other words, the not-so-useful sludge we call wastewater is converted into two resources that possess much more utility: freshly treated water and nutrient-rich biosolids. Read ahead to discover how this by-product of water treatment is an economic, environmental, and agricultural asset.

Economic Benefits

Biosolids that are sifted from wastewater would normally be a nuisance that would be expensive to dispose of; however, biosolids have been found greatly beneficial when it comes to agriculture, forestry, lawn maintenance, and home gardening. As well, a lack of solid capture would be more costly for water treatment facilities as it would lead to more frequent maintenance and the breakdown of certain mechanical processes over time. Those that use biosolids on their soil will see economic benefits in their crop yields and overall soil quality. Furthermore, these people will save money as this valuable resource reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.

Environmental Benefits

Since biosolids are a recycled commodity, they are helping the environment simply by reducing what needs to go to the landfill. For farmers, gardeners, and foresters that fertilize with biosolids, they can avoid using chemical fertilizers that have adverse effects on the surrounding environment. Even the process of isolating biosolids from wastewater through dewatering is an eco-friendly act since it improves overall water quality. This means safer drinking and swimming water for us as well as for fish habitats. The suspended solids that biosolids are eventually removed from a can actually harbour a variety of viruses and damage a fish’s respiratory system. To sum it up, biosolids promote more environmentally conscious soil and water maintenance while reducing the impact of our ever-growing landfills.

Agricultural Benefits

In addition to being economically and environmentally viable, biosolids have also proven a precious resource for the agricultural industry. As previously mentioned, biosolids reduce the need for chemical fertilizers; this makes for safer, more natural land while removing a notable expense. The high-quality composition of biosolids is worth mentioning as well. They contain nutrients that are vital to plant growth like phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. Besides these valuable nutrients, biosolids also offer a variety of heavy metals that are considered invaluable micronutrients for plant life. These micronutrients include but are not limited to zinc, nickel, copper, molybdenum, cobalt, and selenium. The presence of these key nutrients equates to greater crop growth and yields and further enriched soil. There is a reason why biosolids are being used in similar areas of expertise ranging from forestry to mine reclamation.

In short, solid capturing has allowed us to create a revolutionary commodity. Biosolids are an opportunity to improve the quality of our fields and the environmental quality of our world as a whole. If you are ever in need of an eco-friendly compost or fertilizer, biosolids are certainly worthy of your consideration.

How Do I Know if My Tanks and Confined Spaces are Clean?

Proper cleaning of storage and processing tanks is essential for efficient and safe operation. Over time, these tanks can get clogged up with dirt and debris, thereby decreasing the volume that the tank can hold and causing mechanisms such as pumps and heat exchangers to work harder and less efficiently. Similarly, lagoons also require regular cleaning to ensure they too remain efficient.

The question then, is how do you know your tanks and confined spaces are actually getting clean? Essentially it comes down to experienced personnel and the right technology.

Technology to get the job done right

To ensure that tanks are properly cleaned, you need to work with an industrial tank cleaning service that has the proper technology. At Wessuc, we have the technology to work with both municipal and industrial clients.

Using a dual vacuum system, we are able to maintain continuous suction. This allows the tank to drain faster meaning that it can get back into operation sooner. Using our unique dewatering unit, we can rid tanks and other confined spaces of a variety of sludges including those generated by chemical processing, wastewater treatment and various types of manufacturing. This can be done on site using very little energy.

The system works by causing a vacuum to form inside the tank. The liquid is pulled through a filter and a polymer may be added to the water to help with the separation of liquids and solids. The solids form a “cake” which is then removed from the drum with a blade.

Highly trained personnel

Of course, even the best technology is often limited by the expertise of those who use it. The job of tank cleaning has the potential to pose complex safety issues. Because of these facts, Wessuc uses only highly professional and well-trained tank cleaning crews.

Prior to their arrival, we conduct an investigation of the site to analyse any safety issues that may arise. This allows us to fully plan out the job before crews arrive on site.

Our crews have experience cleaning a wide variety of equipment and confined spaces including lagoons, water filters, water towers, aeration tanks, scum pits and more.

Other factors to consider

Meeting environmental regulations is also extremely important. In fact, many companies strive not just to meet regulations but to exceed them. At Wessuc, we work hard to ensure that these high standards are met.

Oftentimes, removed residuals can be beneficially used on farmland. But to ensure it is suitable, debris such as plastic, rags and hair must be removed. For this reason, we custom built a mobile screening unit which our cleaning crews use to physically screen sludge to remove this type of debris.

In other instances, we are treating wastewater that will eventually be returned to lakes, rivers and streams. This is done through a series of filtering stages, use of micro-organisms and disinfecting in order to make the water safe to reintroduce back into the environment.

If your company uses tanks or other types of confined spaces, having the right team and technology on your side for proper cleaning is essential. To learn more about our process, contact us today.