August 13, 2022

Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant to Reduce Biogas Use

The initiative ensures that what goes down the drain does not go down the drain, spokesperson for Metro Vancouver.

A heat recovery project is coming to Richmond’s Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant at an estimated cost of $10 million.

Local and federal politicians gathered at the sewage treatment plant Thursday afternoon to announce the clean energy initiative where heat from treated sewage will be used as an alternative to heat the facility instead of biogas .

Funding of $1.78 million from the CleanBC Communities Fund and $2.14 million from the federal government’s Investing in Canada infrastructure program is dedicated to the project.

Officials say the project will increase production of renewable natural gas and support regional climate action goals.

It will also release biogas, which is currently used for indoor heating and plant processing needs at the Lulu Island Renewable Natural Gas Facility, which is inside the site of the processing plant.

The facility allows the plant to clean and store biogas and was considered ‘the first of its kind’, according to The Richmond News’ report on the facility’s completion last year.

The released biogas can then be cleaned up and sold to FortisBC instead, under its existing agreement with Metro Vancouver to “deliver renewable natural gas to its customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and help achieve provincial climate action goals”.

Proceeds, Metro Vancouver said in a news release, will be reinvested in projects targeting wastewater resource recovery.

The need to flare excess gas, which could pollute the air with more harmful gases when rockets burn poorly or go out, will also be “significantly” reduced.

The Lulu Island plant serves more than 200,000 Richmond residents and treats about 26 billion liters of wastewater each year, according to Richard Stewart, chair of Metro Vancouver’s liquid waste committee.

Stewart also highlighted the creative expertise of the city’s Liquid Waste Services team, particularly General Manager Peter Navratil, who “always looks for ways to ensure that the resources we throw down the drain don’t go down the drain, but get restored.”

“Liquid waste contains a wealth of nutrients and energy that can be scavenged and used in beneficial ways,” he added.

Work for the project began in April 2021 and construction is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed by 2025.

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