Open Letter To Council Re. Liberty Energy Plan

By Jason Leach
Published May 11, 2011

Jason Leach wrote the following open letter to City Council about the Liberty Energy proposal:

I am writing to offer some concerns about the Liberty Energy (and possible second, city-owned plant) waste project proposed for Hamilton.

My expertise is not in sludge to energy projects or its technology so I'll save that for those more knowledgeable than I. I know Europe has some fantastic plants doing great, clean work, but as we all know North America isn't Europe. Companies here are generally allowed to do far much more corner-cutting and spew out more pollution due to lax regulations. Hamiltonians are no stranger to this.

My concern, and reason for writing, is about the truck traffic that will ship in waste from other cities. I have been engaged in local politics for many years and am far beyond the point of trusting anyone who says "the trucks will only use the QEW and Burlington St". I've heard it over and over, and yet when it comes time to address heavy truck routes blasting through residential neighbourhoods such as mine, the status quo trumps livability, safety and neighbourhood repair in Hamilton.

It's unfathomable that in the 21st Century, surrounded by freeways, we still have heavy trucks being encouraged to use Cannon, York, Wilson, Queen, Main, and other downtown streets.

As a taxpaying downtown resident who is involved in my community and has invested in the community, I must voice my opposition to this plan, simply based on the new truck trips coming into the city. I have friends who are transport drivers and they say they would never consider shortcutting through Toronto or Ottawa, but in Hamilton "you guys have those timed lights and wide one-way streets so it's easy".

Former mayors spoke loud and brash about how we would eliminate trucking routes through downtown Hamilton once the Red Hill link was completed. I didn't believe them then, and the recent truck route study proved my distrust.

As long as those truck routes are up along the aforementioned streets, any 'promise' from city hall to ensure that the sludge trucks will only come in via the QEW is an empty promise. It can't be enforced, and we all know that.

Thousands of kids and families like mine live with the blight of massive transports flying down our streets everyday. I've followed many of them over the years and most go to the NE industrial district (I live at York and Locke). Heck, some even go from the Steelcare plant on Aberdeen to the Steelcare plant on Eastport Drive through the city. I've timed that trip and the 403-QEW is just as fast, if not faster.

I'm optimistic that one of these years Hamilton will remove this single biggest obstacle to safety and livability in our downtown/lower city neighbourhoods, but until then, I must oppose any plan that will add to the misery we live with every day.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By SayWhat? (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2011 at 08:38:02

I heard the presentation and the company said it was going to 'barge' waste using the lake and 'rail' waste using the tracks and any trucking would be done by state of the art, electric vehicles. Now what was your point, Jason?

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 12, 2011 at 10:03:45

@ SayWhat

26,000 trucks/year to haul fuel to the City of Hamilton, speculating transportation by (1)barge when the bay is frozen during the winter and (2)rail?

The entire transportation issue is moot with out real contracts for biosolids and biomass from other regions!

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 12, 2011 at 11:28:10

They also said downtown truck routes would be eliminated once Red Hill was built....

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By SayWhat? (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2011 at 11:52:33

I didn't realize that this company made promises regarding the Red Hill??? Jason, you are confused or just hanging on to any reason to oppose this business. We need facts not fears. This is difficult enough as it is without your confusions. Red Hill? What the heck does that have to do with anything?

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:24:57 in reply to Comment 63440

just hanging on to any reason to oppose this business.

Really? Did you actually read my letter to council? I didn't say a word about this business, other than to reference some good examples in Europe.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 12, 2011 at 16:41:11

@ Jason

Good article.

The Liberty Energy proposal would require:

26,000 trucks per year 71 trucks per day 1 truck every 20 minutes

to haul biosolids and biomass from other communitie to provide fuel to the incinerator.

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By goodwork (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2011 at 19:21:07

Great letter Jason!

BTW - Ever notice opposition to reasoned argument is usually complete sludge...I mean crap!

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By Like Europe (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 13:52:58


Bear in mind that there is NO NEW TRUCK TRAFFIC generated by the proposed sludge facility. All those sludge trucks are ALREADY plying the roads dropping sludge in storage site, landfills and farm communities in a 700 kilometer radius of where it is generated in Southern Ontario.

Southern Ontario sludge is so hard to manage in Southern Ontario that it has been trucked to Ottawa, New York State, Sherbrooke Quebec, Michigan, and northern Ontario. Hamilton sludge is lagooned in Niagara Region....

So Gentle Readers...Why are you not squeemish about Hamilton doing the sludge troll through OTHER people's communities? Where is your sense of shame and responsibility when it comes to your current waste practices -
stockpiling and spreading sludge and landfilling sludge in OTHER people's communities?

A Hamilton sludge facility would immensely improve the environmental picture because Southern Ontario sludge wounldn't go hundreds of miles away. Those Ontario sludge trucks heading to NY state to Niagara, to Haldimand, Lincoln, to Oxford, they are all going on the QEW through the Hamilton airshed ANYWAY.

The proposed facililty would stop sludge from entering the food chain. And the sludge toxins (including Hamilton's sludge toxins) wouldn't leach into drinking water, groundwater, and infiltrate our meat and milk. It would mean that we could 'eat local' with some safety.

That would be a benefit to everyone.
It would be like Europe...

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 14:45:00

Read the scientific report from The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs entitled "Biosolids Land Application Project"

For more info phone 1-877-424-1300

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By Like Europe (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 15:34:39

That link you posted? That does not link to an actual 'scientific report'.Note that you cannot find a copy of the actual research document anywhere on the web.

All you will see is various people's comments and some selectively derived bar graphs ((like that link)... not the research report itself.

Read the actual research report (if you can find a copy) and you will see that the crop growth was suppressed on many crops grown with sludge and that sludge that was not legal for land application was land applied.

The purpose of this Horseshoe sludge study was to 'demonstrate' and 'promote' sludge use. A careful reading of the actual study results will show that the experiment didn't demonstrate safety or effectiveness of sludge.

It demonstrated non compliance

So the friends of sludge in agriculture skipped the 'demonstration' part and went straight to promoting sludge in our food chain. THat is why you can't find a copy of the actual report..just the happy communication that it demonstrated something good about sludge.

Ray..don't be so gullible in your promotion of sewage sludge on our foodlands. Do the research and you will see, as the Environmental Assessment showed ... that it is not sustainable to keep putting sludge on Ontario farm fields.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 18:07:23

@Like Europe

post your references so I can review/research?

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By Like Europe (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 19:08:23


You are the one who hasn't posted the documents he is touting.
Get yourself a copy of the complete report called
The Golden Horseshoe Soil and Crop Improvement Association (SCIA) Biosolids Project and read it. Is is not posted on the web. I imagine that is because they don't want you to see the truth about their findings.... just the spin.

Presumably the people who fed you the spin on this 'Biosolids Project' will be only to happy to send you the full report and you can see how they have misrepresented the results.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 19:19:56

Like Europe

Sure I will review SCIA Biosolids Project, post it as a PDF.

I am only promoting "VOTE NO TO LIBERTY ENERGY REGIONAL INCINERATOR" which will be posted later to RTH.

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By Like Europe (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 19:27:50

Oh, and, as you know, Ray, ...this 'study' which you can't find, was funded by Terratec( American Water Services) , the company that is paid millions of dollars per year to store and spread Hamilton's sewer tailings on farmland (and into landfill?)

Terratec has over $400,000 in fines and over 44 convictions.

see some of the Terratec Convictions and fines in Ontario:

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By Like Europe (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 19:50:44


if you look here at this Hamilton report, Terratec has been historically over applying sewage sludge, in violation of its Ministry of the Environment permits. This report said that they were applying as much as 9.06 dry tonnes per hectare of sludge, when the absolute limit is 8 dry tonnes per hectare per five years. (page 7)

And notice that they don't record the figures for the bacteria levels in the land applied sludge ... no accurate figures out of either PowerGrow or Woodward.(page 5)

Is this sludge even legal for land application?

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 21:10:40

Like Europe

Thanks for links RE Terratec questionable practices and August 2007 TM #3 for the City.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 14, 2011 at 22:30:54

seems we have a couple different topics to discuss on this issue. Spreading sludge all over the place doesn't seem too smart, but my main point is that we don't need all these trucks coming through the city. Sure I care about the truck traffic in other jurisdictions, but I'd be crazy to allow that sympathy to result in my support of bringing them all past my front door, and do further harm to my city's downtown. I live and pay taxes here, not in Windsor or Buffalo. If our only two options in dealing with sludge are both complete garbage, then it's time to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better plan.

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By Hypocritus (anonymous) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 06:43:38

Jason says, "Sure I care about the truck traffic in other jurisdictions, but I'd be crazy to allow that sympathy to result in my support of bringing them all past my front door, and do further harm to my city's downtown."

Methinks this young man speaks out of both sides of his mouth....isn't Liberty restricted in its location? The sludge comes from Woodward Plant, nowhere near the downtown.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 14:28:58 in reply to Comment 63540

all of the industrial facilities out there are nowhere near downtown and yet their trucks fly past my place everyday. As long as we have these legal truck routes downtown it is impossible to keep them on the city's freeways.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 07:42:19

@ Like Europe RE Other TM's

The biosolids management evaluation was divided into 17 Technical Memoranda that will address the key issues of the biosolids management strategy as follows: TM 1 TM 2 TM 3 TM 4 TM 5 TM 6 TM 7 - TM 15 TM 16 TM 17 Current Status of Biosolids Management in Hamilton Projected Future Biosolids Quantities Current Land Application Practices Current and Evolving Trends in Biosolids Management Current and Projected Biosolids Management Practises in Ontario Communities Regulatory Review Biosolids Management Options Evaluation Criteria Evaluation of Short-Listed Alternatives and Selection of Preferred Alternative

Searched City website for other TM's,no success, do you have links to the other TM's?

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By Like Europe (anonymous) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 08:41:55

The Liberty project does not increase truck traffic, it diminishes it. Bear in mind that all the sludge that would go to a Hamilton sludge facility is already in trucks on the road to far away farmlands, storage sites, and landfills.

Southern Ontario sludge is so hard to get rid of, and there is so little farmland and landfill to dump it, that it is put on trucks to destinations as far away as Northern Ontario, Sherbrooke Quebec, Ottawa, Michigan, and New York. It goes to into a 700 kilmeter radius of the Southern Ontario cities that generate it.

Hamilton's sludge goes to an open air storage lagoon in Niagara region. From there it goes to landfill or it is trucked twice.

All the trucks that drive sewage sludge down to Niagara, Oxford, Haldimand, and New York state all go through the Hamilton air shed on the QEW anyway. Having a centralized sludge management facility where Southern Ontario sludge is managed in Southern Ontario means fossil fuel burning and air emissions from this long distances trucking of sludge wastes will stop.

There are trucking routes that are established in permitting waste facilities, so this notion that sewage sludge trucks will suddenly show up in Hamilton's main streets is absurd.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 10:45:41

@ Like Europe


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By Smithy (anonymous) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 18:47:55

Are you a lobbyist for Terratec Ray Fullerton?

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted May 15, 2011 at 20:55:39

@ Smithy

No I am not a lobbyist for Terratec or any other organization.

I am a concerned citizen of Hamilton who is against a large capacity regional incinerator proposed by Liberty Energy which will incinerate the biosolids from 30% of the population of Ontario and require 26,000 trucks per year entering the City of Hamilton to supply fuel.

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By Smithy (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 08:34:58

@Ray Fullerton

And you worked for a steel industry that spews pollutants into our air to this very day. You prostituted your principles then and are doing so again. You don't work for the competition that is spreading sludge on farmland and our food supply?


You sold out before; and I suspect that that instinct is very hard to suppress.

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By Smithykins (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2011 at 16:00:24 in reply to Comment 63563

You've completely lost this argument by trying to defame the presenter and not address his facts.

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By Like Europe (anonymous) | Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:20:06

The Golden Horseshow Regional Soil and Crop Association
Biosolids Project reveals heavy metal uptake...and lousy science

It reveals that sludge was spread in apparent violation of Ontario permit limits. Sludge was spread on one field even though the level of nickel on the field already exceeded the maxiumum heavy metal in violation of the Ministry of Environment permit.
That was the Niagara South soil plot.

The study reveals that where sludge is spread on fields the heavy metals were elevated in the grain head and in the leaves of the crops fertilized with sludge.

It demonstrates that toxins can be elevated in our food as a result of sludge spreading.

Two thirds of the samples reported showed elevated zinc, and two thirds showed elevated copper in the grain. Eight out of eleven test plots showed zinc uptake elevated in plant leaves. No other data is provided on other heavy metals uptake. Again...this was the purpose of the where is the data?

As to nutrients, the report somehow fails to provide the phosphorus level in the various sludges applied. What kind of scientific study says it is discussing fertilizer values and then somehow neglects to actually provide the values?

Similarly, the study doesn't provide accurate comparable data for heavy metals in the sludge...setting out charts that compare sludges using both dry weight and wet that the materials cannot be compared.

The study states that there were 8 test plots and then disappears all the data on one of the plots...the Niagara South plot number one, that received sludge from Niagara Region. No discussion of why this plot is eradicated from the 'study'

I guess that is the kind of 'science' you get from a Terratec funded study.

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