Facts and Info

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about the Durham York Energy Centre.

Location

Jobs and Safety

Costs and Economic Viability

Recycling and Diversion

Energy Output and Efficiency

Health and Environment

Agricultural Issues

 

Back to Top

Location

View Site Map (PDF)

Back to Top

Jobs and Safety

How many jobs will be created once the facility is ready?

  • It is estimated that the facility will employ approximately 35 - 40 skilled people on a full-time basis.
  • Additionally, facility construction will create approximately 400 jobs over a four year period. The Economic Assessment Technical Study that was included in the Environmental Assessment speaks to the number of direct and indirect jobs created during the construction and operation phases of the project. The entire report can be found below:

Appendix C-11 - Economic Assessment Technical Study Report

How will trucks transporting waste be routed to the facility?

  • The main haul route for trucks will be Hwy 401 to the Courtice Road interchange and then along South Service Road to Osbourne Road.  An alternative option to provide a separate private laneway from Courtice Road south to the west property limit running parallel to the rail line is being considered.
  • Based on the capacity of the facility, the average number of trucks arriving daily is between 30 and  40 including, waste delivery, residue removal and reagent deliveries.

Back to Top

Costs and Economic Viability

What are the costs associated with building and operating this facility?

  • It is anticipated the final cost of the Environmental Assessment and approval process will be approximately $15 million.
  • The bid cost for the engineering, design and construction of the facility by Covanta was $235.7 million.
  • The estimated capital cost of the project when adding in, architectural enhancements, site servicing, adjustments for inflation, and economic development activities in the host community of Clarington brings the total capital project cost to $276.5 million .
  • Estimated gross annual operating costs are approximately $14.7 million.
  • Estimated revenue generation from sale of electricity is anticipated to be approximately $8.5 million annually and will help offset the annual operating costs.
  • Estimated revenue from recovered metal sales is between approximately $250,000 to $750,000 annually, depending on commodity market prices.  These recoveries will also help offset the annual operating costs.

Who will own this facility and be responsible for day-to-day operations?

  • This facility will be 100 per cent publicly owned by the Regional Municipalities of Durham and York based on a 78.6 per cent Durham and 21.4 per cent York ownership proportion.  The proportion is based on operating capacity of 110,000 tonnes annually by Durham Region and 30,000 tonnes annually by York Region.
  • Due to the complexity of the operation, the Regions opted for a long-term operating contract with a privately-owned company specializing in Energy from Waste facilities.  The company was selected based on a competitive procurement process and awarded to Covanta Energy Corp.  The Regions’ will retain oversight of the facility at all times.

Back to Top

Recycling and Diversion

Will this new facility work in conjunction with recycling and compost?

  • Durham and York Regions are committed to an environmentally sound, sustainable and cost-effective solution to manage post-diversion residual waste.  We are also dedicated to significantly improving our diversion rates by continuing to invest in reusing, recycling and composting programs.   
  • Thermal treatment of waste, using proven technologies, is a proven way to deal with residual, post-diversion waste.  This solution was approved by both Durham and York Regional Councils in June 2006 and by the Ministry of the Environment through the Environmental Assessment Process
  • Through the Environmental Assessment Conditions of Approval, Durham and York are required to report to the Ministry of the Environment annual on the success of their waste diversion programs.

Burning waste does not promote recycling. Why don't we just increase recycling programs?

  • The proposed thermal treatment facility is only being designed to handle Durham and York Region’s residual waste after our Blue Box, Green Bin and other diversion efforts.  Maximizing diversion will remain our No. 1 priority.  The proposed EFW facility will also provide an additional opportunity to recover and recycle metals from the residual waste stream.

What if there isn't enough residential garbage to keep the incinerator working? Are you looking to accept garbage from other municipalities?

  • The approved Environmental Assessment specifically limits the waste received and processed at this site to post-diversion residual municipal residential waste from Durham and York Regions. These terms are outlined in the specific conditions of the Environmental Assessment process approved by the Ministry of the Environment.

Back to Top

Energy Output and Efficiency

You say the new facility will produce energy. What kind and how much?

  • The EFW process produces high-pressure steam, which is fed through a turbine generator to produce electricity.. In broad terms, the electricity produced by the facility, when operating at design capacity of 140,000 tonnes per year, is sufficient to power about 10,000 homes.
  • In the future, waste steam from the facility could be used for district heating in an industrial park adjacent to the facility.  The steam produced could heat the equivalent of 2,200 homes.
  • The electricity will be sold to the provincial grid as base energy at a guaranteed $0.08 kWh for a 20-year term.

What is the longevity of these plants?

  • We expect the thermal facility to be in operation for approximately 35 years.

Back to Top

Health and Environment

How does this project impact climate change?

  • EFW is widely recognized as a net reducer of greenhouse gas emissions by numerous organizations, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the European Union and the European Environmental Agency, the Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC) convened by Columbia University’s Earth Institute. . Throughout its lifetime, a modern thermal facility will release less greenhouse gas than the current waste management practices of trucking the waste to remote landfill sites.
  • During the Environmental Assessment, emissions from the Facility were assessed and compared to applicable provincial/federal criteria. During normal operations, including start-up and shut downs, emissions from the Facility are predicted to meet or be below all applicable provincial/federal air quality criteria for all contaminants.
  • Last year, Covanta’s 38 operating facilities displaced about four-million tonnes of coal and rendered a carbon offset of more than 17-million tonnes of carbon dioxide. 

What happens to the waste? Will it be turned into something toxic?

  • A thermal facility will reduce the volume of waste that would normally go to landfill by 90 per cent. The largest portion of this will be a non-toxic bottom ash, which can be used as a landfill cover or, in some jurisdictions, as a construction aggregate.
  • The smaller portion (two to four per cent), from the cleaning of the exhaust gases, is fly ash and residue, which is hazardous due to the concentration of hazardous materials in the waste. This will be landfilled in a secure landfill or will be treated prior to landfilling in a conventional site.

Will the air emissions from the thermal facility be safe?

  • Thermal facilities have strict monitoring programs in place to ensure the safety and protection of human health and the environment. Human health is the primary concern of both Durham and York Regions and was a key factor in our Environmental Assessment study.  Results of the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment studies in the Environmental Assessment concluded that the facility would not lead to any adverse health risks to the public or environment.
  • Air emissions will meet all requirements of the facility permit, , which are among the most stringent in the world.

Will there be any water pollution from this facility to surface and/or groundwater?

  • Surface or groundwater does not come into contact with any process of a thermal treatment facility.  The facility and process is completely enclosed with no open outdoor storage.  All process water used in the facility is contained separately and reused internally.  The only waste water will be from the washroom facilities which will use Durham Region’s sanitary sewer system.
  • The Regions are required to monitor nearby surface and groundwater to ensure that all environmental protection systems are functioning properly.

Back to Top