Biochar site steps into sight with feasibility study application

Biochar, derived from heating organic materials in low-oxygen conditions, enhances soil health and fertility. It retains water and nutrients, boosts microbial activity, and sequesters carbon, aiding in climate change mitigation and promoting sustainable agriculture. Photo credit: Stock image.
Posted on: February 13, 2024

During Monday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, Director of Public Works and Utilities Paul McMunn requested council’s direction to apply for funding to support an application for a Desalination Feasibility Study at the compost site just outside of town on County Road 43.

“This has historically been one of our snow dumps for winter control operations. With snow melt, we have salt that’s been incorporated into the snow, and we have an adjacent water body. The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Parks is aware, and wants to know how we can minimize the impact of that salt on the environment.”

“I believe council has heard us talk about Biochar before,” McMunn said, referring to the project in conjunction with the Rideau Environmental Action League and Rideau Roundtable, that saw brush at this site being used to create biochar, an environmental boon for sequestering carbon. 

“There is scientific documentation that biochar can mitigate the impacts of salt; it can eat the salt. We think this is a really good project. Down the road it could be a case of us opening up the site to other municipalities to bring their brush to convert it into biochar,” McMunn suggested.

“Undertaking a feasibility study ahead of building and operating a permanent Biochar site would allow the town to better understand overall project viability, including understanding and reducing related risks, optimizing resource allocations, and making overall informed decisions as it relates to a project of this scope,” he proposed.

Councilor Stephen Robinson said, “I’ve been waiting for this ever since we got a presentation by Peter Au regarding biochar. I’m amazed by this, that something so inexpensive can be so good for the environment. I’m in full support of going ahead with that.”

Council was unanimously pleased with this, and directed McMunn to apply for funding.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News

One thought on “Biochar site steps into sight with feasibility study application

  1. Greg

    I urge caution for open air char production. It releases a great deal of volatile gasses into the environment, negatively impacting the GHG emissions measure, and potentially penalizing the project and funding opportunities. There are other possibilities to consider, still based on char, to put your best foot forward.

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