gor[b] Paul Gorbould: Words and Pictures


Stinky Leslieville update

So, I finally found some answers on the east end stink problem, and the news is not good. It would seem that the smell in Leslieville is indeed sewage, and it's not accidental - it's institutional, and it's here to stay, for a while.

The issue came up at a meeting of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre last night, where the problem was on the agenda and discussed. Here's what they had to say:

Item 4. Sewage Odours MOE

We have had many complaints starting on Friday and through the weekend about sewage smells. The City has $220 million allocated for odour controls over the next 10 years. They have a plan but it will take time. The problem seems to be that they can’t get rid of the sludge fast enough. Historically it went to farms and landfill. Michigan is now closed and fall is better for spreading on farms. Then there were consecutive Canadian and American holidays where trucks weren’t operating. We are looking at issuing an order to get the city to deal with the sludge. They know there’s a problem.

The good news is that the City no longer burns the sludge and the new pelletizer should be operating for the first time ever this week to replace some of the trucking. It is a facility that dewaters and dries the sludge for use as fertilizer pellets. Comment: The City need to get its act together, they produce 10 trucks and ship 6. They should belooking at mine tailings and tree plantations not just agricultural land application.

Great... so now we're going from stockpiling sewage sludge to stockpiling sewage pellets. And no answer to why it suddenly smells here but not in the Beach.

It's just what this up-and-coming neighbourhood needs, you know. Every week I read articles in the major papers about the great new shops and coffee shops and restaurants opening up in Leslieville, such as neighbourhood cornerstone Joy Bistro's new B-side outdoor patio/lounge. Nothing brings in the customers like the smell of dried sewage sludge pellets.

And of course I was speaking to a colleague about how we had both finally made an effort to go green, opening windows instead of using the air conditioning (she, again with more gumption, went so far as to buy a bunch of window fans for the purpose.) Now it's back to shut windows and AC for the forseeable future. Again, just what Toronto needs.

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  1. wow, i just finished Jane Jacob’s excellent Dark Age Ahead where speaks directly about Toronto city-planner’s incompetence. I guess she wasn’t lying!

  2. I love my Leslieville home to bits.

    But this summer, I’ve been wondering whether I’ll need to sell soon. What a shock! I thought I’d be here for a long time. But the stench is unbearable at Queen and Leslie – I can’t imagine how it is closer to the lake.

    I’m embarrased to have my little house here. And you’re right: what is this doing to the businesses that rely on people walking on the street? Restaurants, boutiques… all so new and in need of patronage. The local businesspersons association should be up in arms.

    I’m glad community activists are taking on the issue… but I must admit, we’ve all heard how easy it is to “fight city hall”.

  3. Hi Paul

    I have compiled a whole page of stories on sewage sludge pellets. These pellets tend to go into spontaneous combustion, and the track record of fires in pelleting plants is astounding.

    Have a look.

    I have been opposing the sludge pellets in Toronto..no one wants them but the City is paying hundreds of dollars per ton to make them.

    Kari Shinn and Karen Buck at the Neighborhood Liason Committee of the City of Toronto have been promoting sludge pellets…even though the pelleting plant has been a fiscal disaster, and the pellets are not wanted. It appears that the pellets have been illegally distributed.

    I understand that the plant is shut down again.

    Maureen Reilly
    Sludge Watch

    I posted this on Sludge Watch recently:
    Toronto’s sludge pellets are in the news again. In the “I told you so”
    department, the plant burned down just 3 weeks after Sludge Watch met with
    the Ontario Firemarshall’s office to warn them about the pellets and the
    recurring fires and explosions at the plant.

    The pellets themselves go into spontaneous combustion (”self heating”).
    See the report of the Ontario Fire Marshall’s office on sludge pellets:

    Sludge Pellets: Fire and Explosion Risk

    The pellets also caused fires in farm fields and at storage facilities. And
    for more information, look at the Chicago Tribune investigation of the
    failures of this technology in Seattle.

    If the City of Toronto overlooked the track record of failure the first time
    it built the pellet plant, what is the City’s excuse for repeating this
    costly adventure?

    Toronto taxpayers have shelled out more millions to rebuild the plant.
    Why? The pellets have no market. They are a fire hazard. And Veolia can’t
    seem to get the plant running.

    Toronto is ready to pay Veolia $159.54 for every dry tonne of sludge pellets
    they make and market.

    So gentle readers…stayed tuned..

    Will Veolia ever make legal fertilizer out of Toronto sludge?
    How many fires and explosions have there been at the plant in the last year?
    Is it true that Toronto is now spending about $19M for sludge hauling?
    (more than $380 dry tonne)
    How much more taxpayer money will be spent in this folly?

    Here is the City of Toronto agreement on making and marketing these hot
    little items:

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