General Questions

How can I learn more about the DYEC?

There are many opportunities to learn more about the DYEC. This website provides information on facility operations and test results. Residents can also check out the Education and Resources section for more information, take a virtual tour or join our contact list to be notified about upcoming activities.

Where is the DYEC located?

The DYEC is located at 1835 Energy Drive, Clarington, Ontario.

Who owns the DYEC?

The DYEC is 100 per cent publicly owned by Durham and York Regions. Durham Region owns 78.6 per cent of the facility and delivers 110,000 tonnes of garbage/year while York Region owns 21.4 per cent and delivers 30,000 tonnes of garbage/year.

Why did Durham and York Regions choose Energy from Waste?

In 1998, the Durham Region Works Committee directed the formation of two committees, comprised of staff and residents, to recommend strategies for managing all residential waste in Durham Region from the year 2000 to 2020. These Committees proposed the Long Term Waste Management Strategy Plan that was endorsed by Durham Regional Council. Recommendations made included the investigation of Energy from Waste (EFW) as an alternative to landfill for final disposal of residential garbage remaining after diversion.

In 2005, both Durham and York Regions started a joint Environmental Assessment (EA) that included extensive public consultation to determine the preferred alternative for managing residential garbage that remains after diversion taking into account social, environmental and economic factors. EFW was selected as the most environmentally sound, sustainable and cost-effective solution. This solution was approved by both Durham and York Regional Councils in 2006. The EA was completed in 2009 and approved by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) in 2010.

How does the DYEC benefit Durham and York Regions?

The DYEC provides many benefits to Durham and York Regions, such as:

  • A safe, sustainable and responsible way to manage residential garbage locally;
  • Long-term direct control over processing and disposal of our residential garbage;
  • Complementing local waste diversion programs;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Conserving fossil fuels by recovering energy from waste;
  • Producing base load electricity for the provincial power grid;
  • Generating steam energy that can be used in the future for district heating
  • Improving recycling rates by capturing additional metals so that less raw materials need to be mined;
  • Creating new economic opportunities for local labour and businesses; and
  • Reducing the volume of garbage sent to landfill by up to 90 per cent which means fewer trucks on the road.

Waste Diversion

How much garbage is processed at the DYEC?

The Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for the DYEC currently allows the facility to process up to a maximum of 140,000 tonnes of waste per year for disposal at the site.  The Regions are proposing to increase this amount by 20,000 tonnes per year for a total of 160,000 tonnes of waste per year. The facility is capable of processing 160,000 tonnes with it's current equipment and is currently being underutilized despite demand for additional waste capacity for residential waste disposal within the Regions. Visit increasing Capacity to 160,000 for more information on the 2019 Streamlined Environmental Assessment.

How many trucks will come to the DYEC each day?

The average number of trucks arriving daily to the DYEC is 24. This is a combination of garbage delivery, supply trucks, and residual waste removal trucks.

Is garbage from other municipalities or sectors (industrial, commercial and institutional) processed here?

No. The approved Environmental Assessment (EA) and Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for the DYEC specifically directs that only household waste remaining after Durham Region's and York Region's aggressive composting, recycling and reuse program, collected by our waste collection operators, can be received and processed at this facility. Therefore, the DYEC does not accept garbage from other municipalities, sectors or private haulers.

How does Energy from Waste fit in with other waste diversion programs?

The solid waste management hierarchy illustrates the preferred order for managing waste to minimize its environmental impacts. The most important steps are to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost. The next step is to recover which refers to the recovery of energy and additional metals from residential garbage. While energy recovery is important, Durham and York Regions are first committed to improving waste diversion rates through reuse, recycling and composting programs. Disposing waste into landfill is the least desirable option for managing waste.

Image of waste management Hierarchy

 

Do you pre-sort waste before processing at the DYEC?

There are many hands that pre-sort residential waste as it travels from homes and ends up as garbage at the DYEC:

  1. At the curb:
    • Residents are provided with convenient waste diversion programs like the Blue Box and Green Bin programs to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much waste as possible.
    • Waste Collection Operators "tag" and leave behind improperly sorted items or unacceptable materials.
  2. At Durham and York Regions' public Waste Management Facilities (WMF):
    • Residents are directed to sort their waste properly, for example, household hazardous waste is taken to the WMF for free and safe disposal.
    • Staff direct residents to appropriate stations for depositing waste and inspect containers and bunkers for improperly sorted items or unacceptable materials.
    At the private contractors and/or Region owned Waste Transfer Station operated by our waste collection operators:
    • Staff monitor trucks for radiation using detectors at the weigh scales.
    • Staff inspect garbage as it is dumped by collection trucks and repacked into tractor trailers for delivery to the DYEC.
    • Staff remove unacceptable or hazardous items.
  3. At the DYEC:
    • Staff monitor trucks at the weigh scales and confirm that only approved vehicles enter the site.
    • Radiation detection devices monitor inbound trucks as they approach the weigh scales. Garbage loads that do not pass the radiation screening will be rejected and sent away without dumping their load.
    • Facility operators inspect waste visually prior to processing and remove unacceptable items.

Cost and Operations

How much did the DYEC project cost?

The gross capital costs for the DYEC project amount to $284.2 million; this includes $255 million for construction of the facility and approximately $29 million for the Environmental Assessment, permitting and approvals, site servicing, consulting fees and economic development activities in the host community of Clarington.

How much does it cost to operate the DYEC?

The gross annual operating costs are approximately $16.8 million (2020 dollars). This cost is shared by Durham and York Regions based on the quantity of waste each Region delivers to the DYEC.

How are the costs funded?

Durham Region's portion of the DYEC project capital costs were funded by the Federal Gas Tax. The operating costs are funded through:

  • revenue generated from the sale of electricity which is approximately $8.5 million annually;
  • revenue generated from the sale of recovered metals which is approximately $682,000 (2018) annually, depending on commodity market prices; and
  • the annual Council approved Solid Waste Management budget.

Who is responsible for the day-to-day operations?

Covanta was selected to design, build, operate and maintain the DYEC. Covanta employs approximately 40 full-time, highly qualified staff to operate the facility under the Regions' supervision for a 20-year contract term, plus optional term extensions of up to 10 years. Regional staff work on-site at the DYEC to oversee the facility and maintain on-going communication and documentation with Covanta's facility operators. Regional staff ensure that Covanta: (i) abides by the conditions of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Park's Environmental Compliance Approval and other applicable regulatory requirements; (ii) meets the contract terms for operations, maintenance and environmental performance outlined in the Project Agreement; and (iii) meets public expectations and operates the facility to the highest standards.

What are the DYEC's hours of operation?

The facility operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with periodic scheduled shutdowns for maintenance activities. Garbage deliveries are limited to Monday through Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm.

Energy from Waste (EFW) Technology

What is EFW?

EFW is a highly technical process that takes garbage and combusts (burns) it at extremely high temperatures (greater than 1,000°C). The resulting thermal energy (heat) produces steam, which turns a turbine generator to produce electricity. After the garbage is completely burned, metal can be recovered and recycled from the ash that remains, reducing the need to mine raw materials to make new products.

What is the difference between an EFW facility and an incinerator?

Modern EFW facilities differ from incinerators of the past which were designed to do one thing – reduce the volume of garbage requiring disposal. Garbage was processed using uncontrolled burning with minimal to no air pollution control systems. They did not recover energy or any other value from the garbage material. In contrast, modern EFW facilities burn garbage in a highly controlled and efficient combustion system, recover energy and metals from the combustion process and are equipped with proven air emission control technologies that reduce emissions to safe levels in accordance with strict regulatory requirements.

How is garbage processed at the DYEC to generate energy?

Take our virtual tour to learn how garbage is processed to make energy . Some of the key stages of the EFW process are outlined in the diagram and description below:

  1. After you've sorted your recyclables and compost from your garbage, only the garbage that is collected from your home is sent to the DYEC for processing.
  2. After being weighed, delivery trucks unload the residential garbage in an enclosed building which is maintained under negative pressure to prevent potential odours from escaping the building.
  3. The garbage is contained in a large concrete storage pit and mixed with an overhead grapple crane.
  4. The crane feeds garbage into a combustion chamber where it is burned at extremely high temperatures (greater than 1,000°C) in a self-sustaining process.
  5. Heat from the combustion process boils water to create high-pressure steam. The steam turns a turbine-driven generator to produce electricity.
  6. Electricity is sold to the provincial grid and used to power homes and businesses.
  7. State-of-the-art air pollution control equipment is used to cool, collect, and clean combustion gases. This equipment operates under stringent regulatory standards.
  8. Particulate matter emissions, “fly ash”, are controlled primarily through a baghouse (fabric filter). Fly ash is treated on-site to render it inert and non-hazardous. It is tested to ensure that it is safe to dispose of in a similar manner to bottom ash (see #12 below).
  9. Emissions and other operating criteria are continuously monitored to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
  10. Residual material from the combustion chamber is collected for processing and metals recovery.
  11. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals are recovered for recycling.
  12. Remaining residual material, “bottom ash”, is inert and non-hazardous. The bottom ash is tested to confirm that it is safe to dispose of in a landfill or for beneficial reuse purposes.

 

Process Diagram

What is left after garbage is processed?

 

The EFW process reduces the volume of residential garbage by approximately 85 to 90 per cent. The largest portion of the end products is an inert, non-hazardous bottom ash, which resembles crushed rock. The smaller portion is fly ash with lime and carbon residue which is captured in the air pollution control equipment. Fly ash is treated onsite with a pozzolanic material, cement and water to bind or stabilize materials to render it inert and non-hazardous. Bottom ash and treated fly ash are transported to landfill and used as daily cover material. Ash at the DYEC is tested to ensure that it is non-hazardous before being shipped offsite.

Metals are recovered for recycling after the combustion process. The revenue from this material helps to offset the operating cost of the facility.

How much energy is produced at the DYEC and what is it used for?

The DYEC generates approximately 14 megawatts (MW) of net electrical energy on a continuous basis, which is enough to power about 10,000 homes per year. The electricity is sold to the Provincial grid as base load energy at the guaranteed price of $0.08 per kWh inflation indexed for a 20-year term. In the future, steam from the DYEC may be used for district heating within the Clarington Energy Park located adjacent to the facility. The steam produced could heat the equivalent of 2,200 homes per year.

Health and Environment

Is the DYEC safe?

Yes. The DYEC operates under some of the most stringent air emission guidelines in the world. Human health and the environment are primary concerns for both Durham and York Regions. The Regions have undertaken a series of detailed studies on air emissions, health, traffic, noise, ground and surface water to assess any potential effects from the DYEC to ensure that residents and the environment are protected. Results of the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment studies in the Environmental Assessment concluded that the DYEC would not lead to any adverse health risks to the public or environment. 

How can I access emissions data for the facility?

The gases generated in the EFW process are sampled continuously using state-of-the-art technology; this is referred to as continuous emissions monitoring or CEM. Monitoring emissions ensures that the DYEC continues to comply with stringent environmental monitoring and mitigation plans, standards and guidelines set out by the facility's Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) granted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). The Regions also conduct two emissions (source/stack) tests annually to verify the facility is operating below the air emission limits established in the ECA. Results of all emissions testing are posted on this website.

What are the ECA limits for air emissions at the DYEC?

To ensure the DYEC operates under some of the most stringent air emission guidelines in the world, the facility often operates within stricter limits than the province allows. Emissions limits for the DYEC, as shown in the table below, are either more stringent or meet the guidelines set out by the Province (Ontario Guideline A-7).

ParameterUnitsOntario Guideline A-7DYEC ECA

Particulate Matter

mg/Rm3

14

9

Opacity

 %

10

5

10

5

Cadmium (Cd)

ug/Rm3

7

7

Lead (Pb)

ug/Rm3

60

50

Mercury (Hg)

ug/Rm3

20

15

Dioxins & Furans

pg/Rm3

80

60

Hydrochloric acid (HCl)

mg/Rm3

27

9

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

mg/Rm3

56

35

Nitrogen dioxide (NOx)

mg/Rm3

198

121

Organic matter

as methane (CH4)

mg/Rm3

33

33

Carbon monoxide (CO)

mg/Rm3

40

40

Does the DYEC impact climate change?

EFW is recognized as a net reducer of greenhouse gas emissions by the Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union due to the following:

  • Reduced methane (CH4) emissions from landfills. One tonne of methane in the atmosphere is equivalent to at least 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Garbage in a landfill will break down over several decades and release methane. The EFW process generates minimal methane emissions.
  • Reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from trucks. Local EFW facilities mean that long-haul transportation methods for shipping garbage to distant landfills are avoided hence CO2 emissions are reduced.
  • Reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion. When a megawatt of electricity is generated by an EFW facility, CO2 emissions that would have been generated by a fossil-fuel fired power plant are avoided.
  • Reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from metals production. Recovering metals for recycling saves energy and avoids CO2 emissions that would have been emitted if raw materials were mined and new metals were manufactured.

Does the DYEC generate odours?

Waste is brought to the DYEC in large highway-hauler trucks that must be covered. The trucks enter the tipping floor and the doors are closed before any waste is offloaded. Since this part of the building is under negative air pressure, air and odours do not escape when the doors are opened to allow trucks to enter and exit the tipping floor.

Odours are not emitted from the DYEC stack. Due to the high combustion temperatures, all sources of odour are destroyed inside the sealed boiler.

Public Outreach

How can I learn more about the DYEC?

Residents from both Durham and York Regions have many opportunities to be involved and stay informed, including attending public meetings. Check out the Education and Resources section for more information or join our contact list to be notified about upcoming activities.

I would like to book an educational tour of the DYEC; how do I do this?

Educational Tours for school groups, post-secondary programs and industry groups are available but must be scheduled in advance. Please request to book a tour.

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