VICTORIA -- The new Residuals Treatment Facility (RTF) located at the Hartland Landfill is nearly complete, which will mark the final piece of the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) vast sewage puzzle.

The purpose of the massive facility is to turn what’s left of your waste into an alternative energy source.

Once sewage has been treated through a three-stage treatment process at the Mcloughlin Sewage Treatment Plant, the solids that are leftover will get pumped to the RTF for a complete transformation.

“You have micro-organisms there that breakdown those solids further and produces biogas,” said Elizabeth Scott, deputy project director with the CRD Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project.

“That biogas is used to heat the solids that remain and it produces a dried, granular product.”

That product is a class ‘A’ biosolid, which looks like tiny little dried pellets. Those pellets come with many benefits. They can be used as a fertilizer or an alternative fuel source.

biosolids hartland residuals

“They have a calorific value to them,” said Scott. “So they can be burned in place of a fossil fuel.”

Good for the environment and good for the pocketbook, says Scott.

The problem is, currently the CRD has no plan in place to use that product here on Vancouver Island. Instead, it is currently negotiating a contract with a cement plant in Richmond to take it off our hands for us.

The CRD will be paying them for that service, nearly $1 million a year.

“We want to almost immediately look at a way to see these biosolids benefit our region to help us generate energy to be more sustainable,” said Colin Plant, Capital Regional District board chair.

Plant is calling the shipping of the product a short-term solution until a better one can be agreed upon.

The province states that class ‘A’ biosolids must have a beneficial use. The CRD is currently working with the province to be allowed to use it as a fertilizer at the Hartland Landfill. So far, it has not gotten the official ‘go ahead’ on the plan.

“One of the last hurdles we faced as a board was getting permission from the province for a short-term beneficial use of the biosolids when the cement factories in Vancouver are closed for cleaning,” said Plant.

If the provincial government signs off on the plan, for approximately 8-weeks out of the year those biosolids will be used to rejuvenate the landfill site.

“I hope that within two years from now, we are actually using this product ourselves within the region,” said Plant.

The RTF Plant will be online, to start producing that class ‘A’ biosolid, by the fall – ahead of the project’s Dec. 31 deadline.

Meanwhile, work on the CRD’s $775 million tertiary sewage treatment plant is underway and on track to be completed by the end of this year.