Park Extension’s Potential Role in Montreal’s Innovative Waste-to-Fertilizer Initiative

Park Extension’s Potential Role in Montreal’s Innovative Waste-to-Fertilizer Initiative

Montreal’s journey in transforming its wastewater byproducts into agricultural gold has taken an innovative turn, with the city’s ambitious goal to convert 80% of its sewage ash into fertilizer by 2030. This initiative, which turned 26% of the city’s 47,000 annual tons of sewage ash into agricultural fertilizer in 2022, presents a unique opportunity for boroughs like Park Extension.

From Sewage to Fertilizer: The Process

The process begins at the Jean-R.-Marcotte wastewater treatment plant in eastern Montreal, where sewage is decanted to remove organic matter, forming sludge. This sludge is then dehydrated and incinerated at 840°C, eliminating organic matter, microorganisms, and partially, hormone and medication residues. Notably, preliminary studies indicate that the resulting ash is free from perfluorinated compounds (PFAS), persistent environmental pollutants.

Fertili Ashes: A Safe Agricultural Boost

Dubbed ‘fertili ashes,’ this byproduct is certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for use in cultivating animal feed crops like maize. Monitored for quality, these ashes are distributed mostly across farmlands, replacing chemical fertilizers and reducing environmental impact. Non-usable ash is sent to landfills.

Park Extension: A Strategic Player

Park Extension, a borough with a growing interest in sustainable living, can play a crucial role in this project. While the borough itself may not have extensive farmlands, it could become a pivotal point in the logistic chain for fertili ash distribution. With its strategic location and community engagement, Park Extension can support this green initiative in multiple ways:

Education and Awareness: Hosting workshops and information sessions about sustainable waste management and the benefits of fertili ashes.

Community Gardening: Utilizing fertili ashes in local community gardens, demonstrating their effectiveness and safety.

Logistic Support: Serving as a collection and distribution hub for fertili ashes to nearby agricultural areas, thanks to its central location.

Research and Development: Collaborating with local universities and research institutions to study the long-term impacts of fertili ashes on soil and crop quality.