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Biosolids Management

Construction started in July 2013 on a new biosolids management facility on Kelly Lake Road, in Sudbury. The project, which has been in the works for several years, is the City's first public-private partnership. N-Viro, a Canadian-owned consortium, has been hired to design, build, maintain and operate the facility for a period of 20 years. Full ownership of the facility will remain with the City. The Government of Canada has committed to contributing up to $11 million through the P3 Canada Fund to support the new biosolids management facility project.

Left to right: Doug Nadorozny, Chief Administrative Officer;  Lorella Hayes, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer; Tony Cecutti, General  Manager Infrastructure Services; Greg Clausen, former GM Infrastructure  Services; Councillor Ron Dupuis; Councillor Dave Kilgour; Mayor Marianne  Matichuk; Rob Sampson, President, N-Viro.

Left to right: Doug Nadorozny, Chief Administrative Officer; Lorella Hayes, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer; Tony Cecutti, General Manager Infrastructure Services; Greg Clausen, former GM Infrastructure Services; Councillor Ron Dupuis; Councillor Dave Kilgour; Mayor Marianne Matichuk; Rob Sampson, President, N-Viro, during the official ground breaking ceremony for a new Biosolids Management Facility.

What is a Biosolids Management Facility?
A Biosolids Management Facility processes sewage sludge, which is a normal end product of the sewage treatment process, to create a product with low odour potential and little environmental impact. Biosolids management facilities use a heat and/or chemical process to kill harmful organisms called pathogens present in untreated sewage sludge.

Why does Greater Sudbury need a Biosolids Management Facility?
The municipality has been using tailings ponds near Lively for over 30 years as a disposal site for waste activated sludge from its wastewater treatment facilities. While this was once an acceptable practice, changing environmental standards and recurrent episodes of foul odour have made this disposal method unsustainable.

Who was the successful bidder to the project?
The Biosolids Management Facility project was awarded to N-Viro. N-Viro specializes in converting bio-organic materials into valuable resources. It is a Canadian-owned company operating across Canada and in India. Plants in Ontario are located in Sarnia, Leamington and the Niagara Region. For the CGS project, N-Viro’s team includes:

  • N-Viro Systems Canada LP – project lead and technology provider
  • PMX Inc. – project management
  • Tribury Matheson Group and W.S. Nichols – construction joint venture
  • Cole Engineering Group – engineering (assisted by RWDI Air Inc. for air and noise requirements)

 The N-Viro process recovers essential nutrients from bio-organic materials such as source-separated organics (SSO) and dewatered biosolids and returns them to our soils for many uses, including agricultural soil amendment and soil for land reclamation. The process blends the bio-organic materials with inert alkaline material such as lime kiln dust and cement kiln dust to produce a product known as N-Rich®.  
How much will the new Biosolids Management Facility cost to build?
The cost for the Biosolids Management Facility is $63.1 million. PPP Canada is funding $11 million of that amount.
How long will it take to build the facility?
Site mobilization for the construction of the CGS Biosolids Management Facility began June 17, 2013. It will take two years to build the plant and related infrastructure. The facility is designed to handle up to 15,000 wet tonnes of dewatered biosolids per year produced by the CGS.

The process is an entirely closed system designed to protect the environment inside and out by preventing the escape of air, dust and odours. The facility will operate throughout the year producing approximately 30,000 tonnes of a Class A product called N-Rich® annually.

As part of the agreement with CGS, N-Viro is responsible for finding end users for the final product and for transporting it off site. The majority of the N-Rich® to be produced at the CGS Biosolids Management Facility has been pre-sold for the next 10 years and will be used in mining reclamation projects in the Sudbury area. The balance will be sold for value to local agriculture users. N-Viro is also exploring the production of a special soil blend incorporating N-Rich®. This soil blend will be sold to the retail market in the area.
How will Greater Sudbury pay the capital costs?
The City of Greater Sudbury recognizes that the Biosolids Management Facility represents a significant investment. The City will debt-finance 75% less PPP Canada’s share of the construction costs. N-Viro is financing the remaining 25%.
What is PPP Canada’s share of the construction costs?
PPP Canada has committed $11 million to the project.
Who will own the Biosolids Management Facility when it’s done?
The City will maintain full ownership of the facility.
Who is PPP Canada?
PPP Canada is a Federal Crown Corporation established to support the development of public-private partnerships (P3) and to facilitate the development of the Canadian P3 market. To be approved for funding, the plant must be either designed or built by the private sector and the private sector must either finance or maintain/operate the plant
What is a public-private partnership?
The private sector in partnership with the public sector assumes a role in the development of public infrastructure. In a public-private partnership (P3), a government enters into a contract with a company or companies that may take on responsibility for one of the following scenarios: designing and building (DB), designing-building and financing (DBF), designing-building-financing, operating and maintaining (DBFOM). For the Biosolids Management Facility, ownership of the facility by the private sector was not under consideration as the City will retain full ownership of the infrastructure.
What are the main advantages of a public-private partnership?
The main advantage of a public-private partnership is that it transfers construction and operating risks to the private sector, maximizes access to private sector innovation and experience, generally results in faster construction time, provides single-point accountability, results in fewer construction claims and generally provides long term financial stability related to construction and operating costs.
Immediate construction of a community asset through private sector financing, in return for some form of annual payment by the city, is also beneficial when access to capital dollars is limited.
What types of risk is the City trying to mitigate?
In all construction-based projects, there are risks to be considered, including design, construction and operational risks. In the specific case of the Biosolids Management Facility, risks include the potential for construction cost over runs, escalating operating costs, the City’s lack of experience with biosolids technology and the fact that all proposed technologies are proprietary. By transferring risks to the private sector, the City is able to mitigate these risks.

Find out more by reading the project summary and value-for-money report or view a presentation made to Council on July 9, 2013