Metro Vancouver's Waste-To-Energy Facility in south Burnaby is operated by Covanta. It's just completed a major upgrade to slash nitrogen oxide emissions.

Emissions, revenue down at Metro Vancouver garbage incinerator

Waste-to-energy plant completes pollution control upgrade, but its costs are up and electricity sales are down

Metro Vancouver’s garbage incinerator has cut its emissions by 53 per cent since completing a major pollution control upgrade over the past year.

The $7-million retrofit by plant operator Covanta means the plant’s nitrogen oxides emissions now make up 0.4 per cent of the total in the region, down from 0.8 per cent.

That’s just over one third of the emissions allowed under the current limit set by the provincial government, according to Metro.

The plant is still awaiting a new operating certificate from the environment ministry – Metro’s application for one was challenged by the Fraser Valley Regional District, which demanded tougher pollution controls and testing.

The waste-to-energy plant is also reporting a major drop in revenue in 2014.

It took in nearly $5.5 million from selling electricity, but that’s down from $7.4 million in 2013. Power generation was offline for part of the year because of repairs to a failed turbine blade, and a new electricity purchase deal is now in effect with BC Hydro that pays Metro lower prices than before.

The earnings picture for the Burnaby waste-to-energy plant, run by Covanta, has deteriorated since 2010, when it took in a combined total of $11 million from selling electricity to the grid and steam to an adjacent industrial plant that has since shut down.

With no buyer for the more lucrative steam, the WTE plant retooled to generate strictly electricity.

It also grappled with higher operating costs in 2014 to truck fly ash to Alberta because some loads had failed cadmium tests for B.C. landfill disposal.

Metro officials say the plant remains by far the most cost-effective method of disposing of garbage, compared to using the Vancouver Landfill or trucking it to the Cache Creek Landfill, which the region wants to stop using in favour of a new waste-to-energy plant.

Metro solid waste manager Paul Henderson said the disposal cost is about half the amount per tonne to haul waste inland and dump it at Cache Creek.

The existing incinerator burns about 285,000 tonnes of garbage a year and a new one – if approved – could take another 370,000 tonnes.

In 2014, the net cost of WTE disposal was $60.53 per tonne, with more than $80 per tonne in operating and debt costs reduced by nearly $20 a tonne in revenue. That net cost has nearly doubled from $33.30 per tonne in 2010 due to the rising costs and falling revenue.

The revenue doesn’t count tipping fees Metro collects from haulers that dump there.

Just Posted

Autistic children in Hope face barriers to care

Mothers working together to improve access, connections

WATCH: Rally at MP’s office Friday in Chilliwack to stop KM pipeline

Water samples from Chilliwack rivers were delivered to MP Strahl’s office in a symbolic gesture

Editor’s view: A Hopeful start to the community’s first 10 km run

Good mix of pomp and circumstance, variable terrain and silliness at Sunday’s run

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

BREAKING: B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

B.C. officials failed to tell Kiwis Fraser Health CEO had been fired in 2014

New Zealand spending scandal exposes Dr. Nigel Murray 2014 exit from B.C. job

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Installation complete for Alex Fraser Bridge cable collars

The collars will continue to be operated manually

UPDATED: MPs Elizabeth May, Kennedy Stewart arrested at B.C. anti-pipeline protest

The demonstration is part of a day of action against the Trans Mountain expansion

Most Read