Dufferin likely to shelve DEEP

June 4, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews – A Dufferin County Council committee is recommending that the county not pursue an agreement for a demonstration-scale organics facility with York region and seek out-of-county handling of its other solid wastes.

As well, the county may postpone the Dufferin Eco-Energy Park (DEEP) gasification and composting development until technology and provincial government support are available for the project. In the meantime, staff have been instructed to seek opportunities with existing waste processing facilities as a long-term alternative for the county’s waste.

Scott Burns, the Public Works director and county’s engineer, made the recommendations in a report to the Community Development Committee last week.

The county has investigated over the past decade developing local facilities to process waste. The intended site, known as the Dufferin Eco-Energy Park in northeast Grand Valley.

Several technologies have been pursued for the project, including; gasification to produce energy from waste, anaerobic digestion for a bio-gas to energy facility and a Source Separated Organics (SSO) Facility in partnership with York Region.

Of the proponents originally pursuing the project, only York Region remains. From the time that all other parties officially withdrew from the project, the committee has offered an open door for those interested in presenting ideas for waste processing at the DEEP. To date, only one presentation has been made, leaving York Region as the final remaining proponent for the development.

An initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with York Region was executed in July 2007 for a full-scale SSO facility. This MOU has since expired. The MOU spoke to a full-scale organics processing facility with capacity of 70,000 to 100,000 tonnes/year.

Per this agreement, the county was responsible for capital costs associated with external site servicing and the full re-alignment of the Amaranth-Grand Valley Townline road. This road realignment was a requirement of developing the DEEP project in its entirety.

These capital costs were estimated in the range of $2,400,000.

With respect to material processing, the intent of the agreement was that Dufferin’s organic material would be processed at no cost to the county. This was due to a 2.5 percent royalty paid by York to Dufferin for being a willing host for the facility. Savings realized by no-cost organics processing resulted in an approximate payback period of six years on the initial $ 2,400,000 capital investment incurred by the county.

In early May, county staff were provided with a revised MOU from York Region. Principles of the revised MOU are similar to the 2007 version.

Based on lack of vendor interest in the project and current provincial positions that waste is not a renewable resource, staff recommend pursuing opportunities with existing southern Ontario waste material processing facilities as a long-term solution for Dufferin’s waste.

Capacity exists with several facilities and Dufferin represents a very small proportion of overall material produced by adjacent municipalities with about 6,400 tonnes of garbage, 6,200 tonnes of recyclables and 3,000 tonnes of organics per year. The committee was advised this is very likely the most cost-effective solution to maintain the environmentally responsible outlook that Dufferin County holds for dealing with waste.

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