The Regional District of Nanaimo’s (RDN) biosolids forest fertilization program will continue for another five years.
Up to 7,000 tonnes of biosolids from the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre (GNPCC) will be used each year at a new site located near Blackjack Ridge north of the Nanaimo Lakes, according to a release from the regional district. The biosolids applied to the site will enrich the soil and support healthy tree growth.
Biosolids are recovered from the wastewater treatment process and stabilized to meet provincially regulated quality criteria, according to the RDN. Biosolids fertilization adds organic matter to the forest floor, which helps the soils to retain moisture longer and trees to better withstand drought conditions.
“By using the biosolids in forest fertilization, not only is carbon returned back to the soil, thousands of tonnes of biosolids are diverted from the landfill annually,” said Don Bonner, RDN Liquid Waste Management Plan Monitoring Committee chair. “This is a significant contribution towards our goal of 90 per cent diversion of waste from the landfill by 2029 and aligns with our environmental strategic priorities and Liquid Waste Management Plan.”
Because of the high amount of nutrients and organic matter present in biosolids, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy encourage local governments to reuse biosolids to benefit from the high nutrient value.
A hydrogeological assessment of the Blackjack site was completed to determine its suitability for the biosolids management program. The independent assessment determined there is no risk to wells or other water sources in the area, including the Nanaimo Lakes and the Nanaimo River, the RDN said.
Biosolids from the French Creek Pollution Control Centre continue to be used in the soil fabrication program at the Harmac mill in Duke Point in partnership with Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd.
SYLVIS Environmental Services was awarded a five-year contract to apply the GNPCC biosolids to the Blackjack site, in partnership with Mosaic Forest Management, with the option to extend the contract for an additional five years.