Lulu Island Waste Water Treatment Plant on the south arm of the Fraser River in Richmond.

Metro defends plan to harness sewage biogas

Cost of waste-to-energy venture criticized

Metro Vancouver is under fire for committing $13.1 million to a partnership with a private firm to generate more biogas energy at the region’s Lulu Island sewage treatment plant.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan called the project a waste of money and noted the cost has climbed $2.5 million from a previous estimate a year ago.

“It is not in my view the kind of expenditure we should be undertaking,” Corrigan said. “We have a lot of other places we could be placing this money.”

Metro’s board approved the spending June 24, with Burnaby directors voting against it.

Paradigm Environmental Technologies will outfit the Lulu Island plant with its MicroSludge system to greatly increase the production of biogas, which would be sold into the FortisBC natural gas grid as green biomethane.

Enough extra gas would be generated to heat 300 homes and Metro would earn money by selling it.

And the process would also consume more sewage sludge, which now has to be composted and trucked for use at a mine reclamation site near Williams Lake.

The region should save money on fuel costs trucking the sludge away and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Metro waste committee chair Greg Moore said the project may yield bigger cost savings down the road.

Future sewage treatment plant rebuilds – two are planned at a cost of $1.4 billion – may be able to operate with just four or five big digesters instead of the usual six.

“Those things are about $50 million each,” Moore said. “It’s a small investment that could have very large returns for us.”

Metro Vancouver’s net capital cost for the Lulu upgrade is to be reduced to $7 million thanks to expected grants totaling $4.4 million from the province’s Innovative Clean Energy fund and from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and from additional contributions of $1.7 million from Paradigm.

Metro would be responsible for operating costs but expects to break even over 25 years.

Metro’s board had turned down a previous Paradigm proposal more than a year ago.

But the company came back with a sweetened offer that includes a share of its future revenues and FortisBC offered to pay more for the biomethane.

Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt said he supports the project, which he called another form of waste-to-energy.

“We’re taking a waste product and converting it into a useful form of energy to replace the standard fossil fuels,” he said.

“If we focus on the technology, this is a great money maker that is going to work for us and also reduce the cost of future waste facilities by literally hundreds of millions of dollars.”

 

RELATED STORY:

Green natural gas hits marketplace

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Semiahmoo Peninsula girls to host Black Lives Matter fundraiser

‘We are doing this because the world is full of systemic racism,’ organizer Sabine Lapointe said

Community fruit harvest program returns to Surrey, White Rock

Sources will send a team to harvest fruit trees, so less goes to waste

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

East White Rock crosswalk, speed bumps proposed

Report on costs and implications requested by council

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Friends, family remember victim of Langley possible triple-homicide fire at memorial

Memorial held for one the of three found dead at a house fire in Langley Meadows last month

Fraser Valley Bandits, CEBL bringing pro sports back later this month

Abbotsford-based basketball team kicks off CEBL Summer Series on July 26

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Most Read