Councillor Bell's position on Waste Management and Composting:
The history of Guelph's waste management has been characterized as difficult. In an effort to find solutions to waste management problems we have made a few mistakes. We and others have learned from our experience and with this knowledge I believe we have finally put our Solid Waste Management on a good footing to build a reliable and responsible processing system .
Surplus capacity at the plant will be used to process the Region of
Waterloo's green waste.
This will help offset the capital cost of the plant
Contract for the construction of the Wet Plant was awarded to Maple
The process used is completely different than the original plant and
occurs in sealed cement vaults where the odours are contained.
Maple has constructed similar plants in Hamilton, Peel and Nova
The technology is used in over 100 locations around the world.
Construction will begin in the fall and the plant will open mid
November 23, 2007
May 23 marked one year since Guelph's wet recycling
plant stopped accepting your apple cores and banana peels.
Here's what led up to that, and what's happened since.
April 21, 2006: The city finds out it won't get a
$2.5-million federal-provincial grant to help pay for $3.8 million in
repairs to the compost plant's decaying roof -- repairs an engineer's
report says need to be done by winter if the plant is to remain open.
Mayor Kate Quarrie says shutting down the plant indefinitely is a
May 1, 2006: Council votes unanimously to temporarily
close the organic plant as soon as possible. Apart from roof troubles,
the city cites factors including that it hadn't received provincial
approval for a test air scrubber to reduce odours, and the fact the
plant is under investigation by the province after alleged violations to
its operating agreement. Council votes to launch a long-term strategic
plan for the city's waste management.
Janet Laird, head of the city's environment
department, says the plan could take until 2007 to complete.
May 17, 2006: The city says organic waste will be
going to landfill. "It will be shipped off-site, probably to a landfill
site until we find additional capacity (at an organics facility)," Laird
said. "It shouldn't take very long -- probably a handful of weeks." Dean
Wyman, the city's manager of solid waste, says until a site is lined up,
the city will rely on a garbage-hauling company to get rid of the
organics. It's up to the company to decide where to send the waste,
Wyman said. "They can't guarantee where it's going to go, but they said
they're going to give their best efforts to find an alternate disposal
site," Wyman says. It's later revealed the company hauls the organics to
landfill all summer.
May 23, 2006: The wet plant accepts its last green
June 29, 2006: The wet plant finishes processing its
last green bag and shutdown is completed soon after.
Aug. 15, 2006: The Ministry of the Environment lays
eight charges against the city and two against its former solid waste
manager, mostly related to smells that allegedly came from the plant in
2004 and 2005. Under new rules, the city could be fined millions of
dollars -- but it's unclear whether those rules apply to the city's
Aug. 16, 2006: Council disagrees on why the plant was
shut. Councillor Dan Schnurr says the ministry investigation was a
factor in the decision to close the plant. "It had nothing to do with
not getting the provincial funding," he says. Mayor Kate Quarrie
disagrees. "The reason for closing the plant was the actual structure of
the plant, and also some of the conditions with the air quality," she
says. "That decision was made when council couldn't get the funding."
Aug. 31, 2006: The city says it will send green bags
to Hamilton's new composting plant for four weeks, starting the week of
Sept. 11, then to an incinerator in Niagara Falls, N.Y., until a
longer-term location is found. Environment director Janet Laird says
staff will continue looking for a more suitable venue. "I think it would
be preferable if we could deal with it as close to home as possible,
preferably within Guelph boundaries, or outside of that, as close to
Guelph as possible," she says. She adds it hasn't taken any longer than
she expected to find alternative facilities. "Maybe it's later than we
hoped, but it's what I envisioned when I said it would take a few
Sept. 7, 2006: The Hamilton plant tells the city it
won't take Guelph's organics. The city doesn't immediately make that
Sept. 11, 2006: City announces the Hamilton plant
won't take Guelph's organics. City staff say the organics will go to the
Niagara Falls incinerator starting almost immediately.
Sept. 22, 2006: City staff say they will issue a
request for a company to process the city's green bags. The request is
to be issued Nov. 2.
October 2006: City staff say they'll start a
waste-management planning process in the fall. They say it will be
complete in 2008, not 2007 as was stated when councillors voted in May
to launch the process.
Nov. 2, 2006: Guelph issues a request for tenders to
find a facility to take Guelph's green bags in the interim, as the city
decides how to proceed. The request period closes Nov. 29. The only bid
is from a company applying on behalf of the incinerator in Niagara
Nov. 13, 2006: Municipal election day. Waste has
repeatedly been cited as a key issue for voters.
Dec. 6, 2006: A story in the Mercury cites Ministry of
the Environment officials saying the city will have to prove the wet
plant won't stink before it's allowed to reopen. "They have to show us
that odour wouldn't be an issue," says ministry spokesperson John
Jan. 10, 2007: Mayor Karen Farbridge says she'll
budget option to keep Guelph's organic waste going to
the incinerator to save money until the time is right to reopen the
plant. The option of sending organics to a composter is expected to cost
$1.2 million more. "Rather than spending $1.2 million now, I'd rather be
using that money to get Guelph's waste facility back on track," she
says. Janet Laird says it will take at least 18 months for the
composting plant to reopen.
Feb. 19, 2007: Council votes 11-2 to award the
tender to the New York incinerator. The cost will jump
by $15 per tonne, from $65 to $80 per tonne. Council hears that will
rise to $88 per tonne in 2008 and to $96 per tonne in 2009. David
Kennedy, the city's director of finance, warns councillors that if they
do not approve the contract, the city would be left without a place to
ship its organic waste.
May 1, 2007: The city has one of several court dates
related to the
ministry charges over plant odours. As on other dates,
the case is not significantly advanced, though what actually happens is
not entirely clear. Janet Laird says the discussion is taking place
behind closed doors.