Not content with hollering "not in my backyard" to a proposed landfill in their community, members of the Coalition Against the Danford Megadump are also promoting alternatives to burying all the waste from the Outaouais region in Alleyn and Cawood.
To that end the coalition arranged for a Jan. 19 tour of a new waste disposal facility near-ing completion in Ottawa, then invited politicians and staff from Outaouais municipalities and MRCs to come along and see it for themselves.
"We invited various people from the Outaouais to attend," coalition executive member Bob Wilson explained. "Seven of them did."
Among them were Cantley Mayor Steve Harris, Low Mayor Mike Francis, Bouchette Mayor Rejean Carle, and two staff members from the municipality of La Peche. The municipal representatives were joined by members of the coalition, and all were treated to a first hand look at what many believe is the future of waste disposal.
The facility is located on Trail Rd. west of Ottawa - a $27 million pilot project that, once it's up and running this spring, will turn garbage into electricity, inert construction material, and no emissions using a process known as plasma gasification. "It's something a bunch of us are interested at looking at," Cantley Mayor Steve Harris said.
"It looks too good to be true."
Once operational the plant will take 100 tonnes of Ottawa's household waste each day and convert it to 115,000 kilowatt hours of power, enough to light 4,500 average homes, and an in ert, glass-like material called slag.
The project is the brainchild of Plasco Energy Group, a Cana dian company led by president Rod Bryden, well known in the region as the former owner of the Ottawa Senators hockey team. Bryden pitched the project himself to his Outaouais visitors at Plasco's Kanata headquarters before they boarded a bus to tour the site.
"It was quite a professional presentation, very well done, and it was well received," Wil son said. "The plant itself is in an advance stage of completion, all the modules were there. They plan to have it operational in March or April."
The first load of garbage the plant processes will be heated to temperatures in the thousands of degrees centigrade by plasma torches, temperatures so hot the material is reduced to ionized gas that is then processed into a synthetic fuel cleaner than nat ural gas, that fires combustion engines which produce power. The slag, the glass-like byprod uct of the process, can then be used to make cement or as a safe, non-toxic, fill.
"There are no emissions, there's no stack on the plant anywhere," Wilson said. "The electricity required for the plasma torches is about 20 per cent of what is generated by the plant, the rest is sold to Hydro Ottawa."
It's a technology Wilson and his fellow coalition members hope will win converts among decision makers on this side of the Ottawa River. A plant the same size as Plasco's Trail Rd. facility has the capacity to pro cess all the garbage produced by MRC Pontiac and MRC Val-lee-de-la-Gatineau while provid ing power and 24 full-time jobs. And if similar plants were built to serve MRC Des Collines and the city of Gatineau, it would al most certainly compromise the viability of the landfill proposed for Danford Lake.
WHY BURY ENERGY?
"The landfill is based on the assumption that all the waste in the Outaouais will go there," he said. "But why would you land fill a valuable energy source with no emissions? This really is an opportunity to use the lat est technology in Canada and make the Outaouais a centre of expertise."
And if it quashes the pro posed Danford megadump along the way, no one on the coalition is likely to complain.