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

Just Posted

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

Quarantined Surrey mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Cloverdale’s Christine Williams shares her family’s challenges, strengths

Police watchdog finds cops blameless for deaths in 2019 Surrey hostage-taking

Woman was killed as ERT officers fired on man holding a knife to her throat and ‘what appeared to be’ a gun in his hand

No, Delta police are not pulling over cars to check for social distancing

DPD dispelling rumour cops pulling over vehicles with two or more people, checking IDs, issuing fines

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read