Biosolids Recycling Program

What are Biosolids?

Biosolids are a nutrient-rich, organic by-product of the wastewater treatment process. Halton owns and operates 7 wastewater treatment plants within its 4 local municipalities. These plants treat and cleanse wastewater from the residents and businesses in Halton.

Picture of a tractor pulling equipment, while the equipment applies biosolids to the agricultural land.
Applying the biosolids to agricultural land.

Halton biosolids are recycled as an agricultural fertilizer to improve and maintain soil productivity and stimulate plant growth. They are applied to agricultural land only after the material is fully treated and meets strict quality standards set by the Ministry of the Environment.

Biosolids undergo a month-long heated and biological process at Halton's wastewater treatment plants that “stabilize” the product to the point where there is limited biological activity.

Almost all of the pathogens in wastewater are eliminated through the treatment process. Any pathogens that are left are further reduced when exposed to the natural elements, during storage and when land applied at the farmer's field.

Biosolids Video

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Halton Receives WEAO Exemplary Biosolids Management Award

Photo of the WEAO Exemplary Biosolids Management Award The Region of Halton’s Biosolids Program was awarded the 2011 Exemplary Biosolids Management Award from the Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO), in the category of public acceptance activities.

WEAO is the preeminent organization of technical and professional individuals dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of Ontario’s water environment. www.weao.org External Link

Aerial picture of Halton Region's Biosolids Management Centre.

Aerial view of Halton's Biosolids Management Centre, on Regional Road 25 in Oakville.

Halton's Biosolids Management Program

Halton's biosolids have been applied to agricultural land as a soil amendment and fertilizer for the past 30 years. The 7 wastewater treatment facilities owned and operated by Halton Region currently generate approximately 11,000 dry tonnes of biosolids per year.

Historically, biosolids were handled in liquid form (approximately 3% solids) but more recently dewatering equipment has been added at some facilities to produce a more semi-solid “cake” material (greater than 20% solids). Halton currently dewaters approximately 60% of its annual biosolids production.

Dewatering takes place as a standard operation at the Skyway and Mid-Halton Wastewater Treatment Plants. In addition, the Region also operates a mobile dewatering unit to address specific program requirements. The dewatering process has the benefit of reducing the overall volume of biosolids that must be managed.

When conditions permit, biosolids are directly applied to agricultural land. The program is closely monitored and when the biosolids can not be applied, such as periods of wet weather or during the winter months, temporary storage is required.

Liquid biosolids are stored in holding tanks at Halton's Biosolids Management Centre located on Regional Road 25 in Oakville and dewatered biosolids are similarly stored at a special facility in Niagara Region operated by Halton's contractor, Terratec Environmental.

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Future Program Plans

In 1999 the Biosolids Management Strategy was developed. This strategy made recommendations for the biosolids program, which addressed issues related to biosolids management.

Since that time there have been changes in the regulation of biosolids management, as well as biosolids treatment technologies. Given these changes, it is an appropriate time for Halton Region to undertake a Biosolids Master Plan to consider specific program needs and long term sustainability.

In 2009 Halton Region initiated a comprehensive Master Plan Study. The primary purpose of the study is to evaluate alternative technologies and biosolids management options, and to recommend a strategy that responds to the current and future challenges, through to year 2031.

Detailed information and the latest updates on the 2009 Halton Biosolids Master Plan.

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Contact Information

For additional program information:

  • Email Biosolids@halton.ca
  • Call Halton Region's Biosolids Operations Coordinator at 905-825-6000 Ext. 4494

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