CLC Meeting June 3, 2014- Minutes
Call to Order
Earl Brubacher called to order the meeting of the CLC in the Meeting Room at the Elmira Branch of the Region of Waterloo Library at 7:00pm.
The following committee members were present / absent:
Name: Present: Absent: Earl Brubacher (Chair) X Doug Thomas (Vice Chair) X Marg Tassy Kreller X Robert Musselman X Earl Martin X Jerry Heidbuurt X Bob Gray X Michael Purves Smith X Kevin Martin X Tom Fahey (Secretary) X Chuck Martin X Lance Buchholtz (Plant Operator) X Derek Martin (Plant Operator) X
Members of the public attending:
Approval of minutes of May 6, 2014 meeting
Earl Brubacher presented the minutes and asked if there were any comments or questions.
Questions & Comments:
Earl Martin asked about the dates regarding the upgrade work by Waterloo North Hydro were still accurate. Earl Brubacher replied they should be but Waterloo North Hydro advised that they need an extra day after Ontario Hydro completes their work. Target date for completion of hydro substation upgrades is now June 7.
There being no further comments, Earl Brubacher asked for a motion to accept the minutes. Motion by Doug Thomas to accept the minutes. Seconded by Bob Gray. Carried.
Comments regarding distribution of minutes – Bob Jonkman noted that the minutes did not get posted to the company website. Earl Brubacher was sure that the minutes had been posted, and advised that he would follow up with the person that is responsible for updating the website.
The plant has been operating about two and a half months.
The engines have not been running since May 14, and will allowed to be started up again after June 7, when the hydro substation upgrades have been completed.
The plant has been receiving some organic material every day. Paving of the driveway and parking area is in progress.
Robert Musselman asked how many hours per day is the flare operating.
Derek Martin replied approximately four hours per day. The flare is operated once every twenty four hours for the four hour period to flare off all excess gas.
Earl Brubacher reported that there had been two noise complaints, regarding the bio-filter fan. When the H2S monitor signals that there is H2S present, the bio-filter fans kick in at 100% and there was some noise being generated.
Derek Martin explained that as the weather gets warmer, the incoming trucks have a little more of H2S generated in their tanks. A we fill one of our tanks it would displace enough H2S outside of the tank and trigger the sensor. The plant system would react by increasing the fan rate to vent the gas. The issue has been corrected by increasing the ventilation from the tanks. So far it appears to be working.
Earl Brubacher commented that other than the above, there was nothing to report.
The May Truck Movement report was circulated to all present.
Discussion and questions following Earl Brubacher’s update:
Earl Brubacher advised that we have been having some issues with the company web site. It appears that when we post materials and updates to the website, they are not remaining due to space limits.
Tom Fahey reported that the company IT Admin has advised we are transitioning to a new web site hosting provider and setting up a web site specific to Woolwich Bio-En Inc.
Earl Brubacher added that the REA amendments that had been filed with the Ministry of the Environment should be posted on the web site. They have been filed with the MOE (300+ pages for five amendments) and they will be available on the website as soon as possible.
Doug Gray commented about the increase in the number of trucks on May 20 and May 21. Derek Martin replied that it was a one-off situation where we had a large number of small trucks arriving with waste from a grocery chain. Chuck Martin further commented that there was a particular organic waste handler that had put in a system at the grocery chain, and due to a change in the relationship between the waste hander and the grocery chain, the grocery chain wanted those waste collection systems removed from their locations quickly as they changed to a different waste collection service provider.
Robert Musselman asked what does the May Truck Movement report represent in terms of the capacity of the plant. Derek Martin estimated that it represents about 30% capacity, in terms of weight, and about 50% in terms of truck movements.
Derek Martin continued that the digesters need time to ramp up. If you overfed it, it will get sick, so we need to increase the rate of feed slowly. As it is, this coincides with the rate of receiving’s. Chuck Martin added we expect it to take six to nine months to get up to maximum capacity.
Doug Thomas asked about the status of the natural gas system. Earl Brubacher indicated that this was one of the amendments included in the REA Amendment request that has been submitted. Until the company gets approval, no action can be taken. However, the Biogas Association would like to proceed.
Earl Martin commented that if the flare is operating 4 out of 24 hours, when the plant is operating at 30% capacity, would that then mean that in the future when the plant is operating at 100%, if the flare is needed to run it could be on 12 hours. Derek Martin indicated that in the event that the flare needed to be used, it could be on for a significant period of time, but that the flare is a method of last resort, and would be used only if the plant was unable to use the gas for electricity production. Earl Brubacher commented that unless the electrical grid was down for some reason, only one engine of the two would be taken off-line for servicing at a time, so there would still be the other engine using gas for electricity production.
Robert Musselman asked how long would it take to slow down gas production to near zero. Derek Martin replied that, in theory, the retention time is between 30 and 40 days; that is sometime between 30 and forty days after cessation of adding new organic material, the gas production would reduce to near zero. Gas production would drop to 80% in about 10 days; the reduction in gas production would not be a straight-line graph, but rather a “banana shaped curve” (a negative exponential distribution), as described by Earl Brubacher. Chuck Martin commented that gas production would initially drop off quickly, and then level off.
Doug Thomas asked about the need to the maximum number of trucks movements. His impression was that this was necessary for removal of waste material. What would be the reason for requiring removal of these materials? Chuck Martin replied that there could be two possibilities:
- Removal of material from Residual Tank (4,000 m3 / 4,000 tonnes) – the residual material is liquid fertilizer. If the weather conditions at the time of year that farms would need the fertilizer have been bad, when the weather conditions improved many farms would be asking for delivery of fertilizer in a short period of time. With the truck movement numbers in the initial REA submissions and as requested in the REA amendment, it would have taken about two days to empty the residual tank. With the number of truck movements currently allowed, it would take 4 days.
- Receipt of materials that contaminate our system and we need to empty out quickly. Under the current truck movement constraints, it would take twice as long to remove the material than under the proposed truck movement limits.
The main driver is how fast can material be removed if it was critical to do so. The efficiencies and economics of the waste trucking industry are such that the trend should be towards larger loads than smaller ones over time. The instance of the high number of small loads received on May 20 / 21 is not sustainable.
Doug Thomas asked if the excess gas could not be contained in some way, for some other use Earl Brubacher commented that if the RNG (Renewable Natural Gas) proposal for transportation fuel is approved, the plant could divert excess gas into the natural gas grid and not need to flare it off. Status of this proposal is still in a pilot / feasibility study.
Robert Musselman asked if any fertilizer is leaving the plant yet. Derek Martin advised the second digester has only recently reached operating level. Now that both digesters are operating, the spill-over point will be reached and residual digestate will begin moving into the residual tank. Currently there is a very small amount of digestate in the residual tank.
Marg Tassy Kreller asked if all the testing was done. Derek Martin advised that yes, all testing has been completed, just some small operational tweaks ongoing.
Chuck Martin asked about the status of the MOE noise audit – Earl Brubacher replied that due to the fact the engines were not running for most of the month of May, the noise audit has not been done. The MOE staff have been in to do a walk around with their noise monitoring equipment to get some baseline readings. They did note that if they go to the south side of the property, they pick up noise from the pet food plant.
Earl Brubacher asked if there was any other business.
Earl Martin enquired about the breakdown between solid and liquid material receipts. Derek Martin replied currently the materials are about 90% liquid, 10% solid.
Earl Brubacher asked if there were any more comments or questions. There being none, the next meeting was scheduled (consensus was to skip July and schedule in August):
Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Location: Meeting Room (downstairs) at the Elmira Branch, Region of Waterloo Library
The meeting was adjourned at 7:26pm.