WHITBY, ON – The Regional Municipalities of Durham and York today held an official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Durham York Energy Centre (DYEC), a state-of-the-art, energy-from-waste (EFW) facility that was made possible due to funding from the federal Gas Tax Fund.

The DYEC will process the residential waste that remains after Durham and York Regions’ aggressive and highly successful composting and recycling programs, while also recovering materials and energy. Through thermal mass burn technology, the municipal solid waste is fed into a furnace where it is burned at temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius. The remaining ash is then shipped to landfill or reused in product manufacturing.

“The Regional Municipality of Durham has been working towards a long-term waste management solution since 1999, and we’ve found an answer in the Durham York Energy Centre,” said Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer Roger Anderson. “This facility will continue to support our waste policy by encouraging the public to further reduce, reuse and recycle their waste, in an effort to ensure that what is left can still be recovered. Now that construction is about to commence, I expect the facility to be fully operational by the end of 2014.”

The EFW process also includes production of high-pressure steam, which is fed through a turbine generator that produces electricity. When operating at design capacity, the electricity sold to the provincial grid is sufficient to power about 10,000 homes, while the future district heating system will produce heat equivalent to the needs of 2,200 homes.

“Today’s groundbreaking signals the start of construction of the first energy-from–waste facility built in Ontario in 22 years,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “York and Durham Regions are committed to the diversion of residual waste from landfill and thermal treatment of waste is smart technology to achieve our goals.”

The Durham York Energy Centre will have a maximum capacity of 140,000 tonnes per year. The Region of Durham is entitled to process up to 110,000 tonnes each year, while York Region is entitled to process up to 30,000 tonnes annually.