Environment and Climate Change Committee News - Committee approves sewer connection to capture renewable energy from wastewater

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal lime green stripe are in the foreground with " Environment and Climate Change Committee update" in the centre.

The City’s Environment and Climate Change Committee today approved that the City enter into an agreement with Theia Partners and Envari Holdings to connect a Wastewater Energy Transfer (WET) system to the City’s sewer system. The WET system will capture thermal energy from wastewater for low carbon heating and cooling for the planned Dream LeBreton development. As the City’s first such connection, this will be a pilot project.   

A WET system uses renewable energy from heat found in sewer systems as an alternative to using fossil fuels to heat and cool buildings, which is one of Ottawa's largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. This pilot project could reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 1,100 tonnes and would support the energy efficient net zero carbon development planned at Dream LeBreton. The development at 665 Albert Street features two high-rise residential buildings with 40 per cent affordable units. 

For the pilot, the City would enter into an agreement allowing Theia Partners and Envari Holdings to connect to the City’s sanitary sewer and the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel, which both run beneath the Dream LeBreton site. Theia and Envari will design, build and operate the WET system. Sewage from the City system would be filtered and pumped through a heat exchanger to draw energy for the site.  

The City would set a fee for a WET system design review, and an annual energy transfer fee based on the rate of flow needed to meet anticipated energy demands for Dream LeBreton. Staff would report back on results of the pilot no later than 18 months after it is implemented.   

The Committee also received the audited financial statements for the second year of the three-year extension of the curbside waste collection contract with the In-house Collection Group. The audit covers the 12-month period between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022, during which in-house collections saw a cumulative operating surplus of $2.3 million. Combined with the surplus from the previous year, there is a total surplus of $4.8 million so far during the contract extension, mainly due to lower fleet costs.  

Items from this meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, April 12. 

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